Manet’s Interior at Arachon (1871)
Manet's son, sitting on the right, smoking, is posed like a painter with his hand in the air as though it was holding a brush. His pose is similar to that in his earlier appearance in Soap Bubbles. Although the painting and the sketch for it are both considered to represent Manet's wife and son in their house on vacation, it really represents on the poetic level Leon as the artist painting the maritime scene in the window with his cigarette as "a brush". The red, burning tip to the cigarette signifies paint. And to emphasize that Leon is an alter ego of Manet himself, three legs of his chair form an 'M' for Manet. (See Matisse's Red Studio for similar use of an artist's initial)
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In the initial sketch Manet made for the painting he indicates even more clearly that Leon and the table are on a different level of reality to his mother and the window by making them darker. Thus, in your own mind, you need to separate out "Leon as the artist” in the studio from "his mother and the view" who are in “his painting”.
More Works by Manet
How remembering an artist's pose helps identify an alter ego
Find out how Manet's observations of scenes in Parisian cafés are really something else entirely
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