Manet's 1866 portrait Young Lady with a Parrot depicts the attachment between the African grey parrot and his mistress.
Young Lady with Parrot: (painting) This1866 painting is by the French artist Edouard Manet whose work spanned from the Realism to Impressionism periods. The painting is also referred to as Young Lady in 1866 and is currently housed at the Metropolitan Museum. Note the fixed and intense gaze of both the young lady and the parrot and the unification of composition of the gray in the background, in the folds of the pink dress and in the parrot. You can also see the parrot’s torn food at the bottom of the t-stand. Model and painter Victorine Meurent modeled for this painting and other paintings of Manet's. Parrots were commonly kept in France at the time of this painting and were considered quite intelligent, especially the African grey parrot, which was called the Jaco. It was believed that women and parrots had a special communication and attachment. Manet also painted another painting with the model Meurent and a parrot called The Guitar Player. Interesting side note: After seeing a picture of Young Lady with a Parrot, poet T.S. Eliot wrote the 1909 sonnet, “On a Portrait.” Manet’s more famous paintings are The Olympia and A Bar at the Folies-Bergere.
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