Femme avant Femme en Robe de Soirée

Talking about museum visits, this is a photo (not taken by me!) that I really like.

The photo shows a woman sitting before Édouard Manet's Femme en robe de soirée (Woman in Evening Dress) at Musée d'Orsay in Paris (the painting is now in Guggenheim, New York).

What interests me about this photo is the contrast which is almost ironic. Though a mere object of an artistic creation, the woman in the picture frame, in all her elegance, is depicted as being more alive than the "real" woman, who is just a detail-less outline of a stooping figure. She is no more than a black shadow. And this is another thing that makes the photo interesting. One is left to guess how old the woman is, what she looks like, how she is feeling when looking at the painting, or is she even looking at the painting.

Is this a lonely woman we are looking at, as loneliness seems to be the mood the photo is trying to create.

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