Le Christ mort et les anges (1864)

Manet, Édouard (1832-1883)

Le Christ mort et les anges (The Dead Christ with Angels)
Oil on canvas, 179.4 x 149.9 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Manet identified the source for this painting, the first of several religious scenes, in the inscription on the rock: the Gospel according to Saint John. However, in the passage cited, Christ’s tomb is empty except for two angels. After Manet sent the canvas to the 1864 Salon, he realized that he had made an even greater departure from the text, depicting Christ’s wound on the wrong side. Despite Charles Baudelaire’s warning that he would “give the malicious something to laugh at,” the artist did not correct his mistake. Indeed, critics denounced the picture, particularly the realism of Christ’s cadaverous body. (MET)