Study for ‘Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe’ (Luncheon on the Grass)

Édouard Manetcirca 1863-68

The Courtauld Institute of Art

The Courtauld Institute of Art
London, United Kingdom

This work was made in preparation for one of the most famous paintings of the 19th century. In 1863, Édouard Manet scandalised the art world with his large, finished version of this composition (now in the Orsay Museum, Paris). It was shocking for its life-size depiction of two nearly naked women alongside fully dressed men in contemporary clothes. Although Manet initially drew inspiration from Renaissance nudes, he rejected the veil of mythology and painted unidealised female figures, one of whom confronts the viewer with her direct gaze.

As in most sketches, some areas are loosely defined, others more fully painted. Manet lavished particular attention on the trunk of the tree on the left and the black jacket of the reclining male figure. The sketch was probably painted as an aid during the creation of the large canvas, which took over a year to complete.


  • Title: Study for ‘Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe’ (Luncheon on the Grass)
  • Creator: Édouard Manet
  • Creator Lifespan: 1832–1883
  • Date Created: circa 1863-68
  • Location: 1863
  • Location Created: France
  • Physical Dimensions: 89.5 x 116.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Photo Ⓒ The Courtauld
  • External Link: Explore The Courtauld's collection
  • Medium: Oil paint on canvas
  • Art Movement: Impressionism
  • Acquisition Credit: Samuel Courtauld gift, 1932

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app


Google apps