The Fifer (1866) by Edouard Manet

The Fifer - Edouard Manet - 1866

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Artwork Information

TitleThe Fifer
ArtistEdouard Manet
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions161 x 97 cm
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris
Location Created Paris, France

About The Fifer

“The Fifer” is an oil on canvas artwork by Edouard Manet, created in 1866. It exemplifies the Realism art movement and is distinguished by its portrait genre. Measuring 161 x 97 cm, the artwork was produced in Paris, France, and it currently resides within the hallowed halls of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The artwork presents a young boy standing upright and facing the viewer directly. He is dressed in a traditional military uniform, complete with a strikingly ornate, gold-embroidered shako on his head, which adds a vivid splash of red and gold to the composition. The boy wears a dark jacket with golden buttons and a white belt that accentuates his waist, paired with bold red trousers. In his hands, he gracefully holds a flute, bringing it to his lips as if captured in a moment of playing. The artwork’s background is subdued and rendered in a neutral tone, which thrusts the figure of the boy into sharp relief.

Manet’s keen attention to detail is apparent in the realistic depiction of the textiles, the boy’s focused expression, and the careful rendering of his posture. The composition, while seemingly simple, conveys an air of solemnity and poise, reflecting the ethos of the Realism movement that sought to depict subjects truthfully without idealization.

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