Episode Detail: The Shock of the Nude: Manet's 'Olympia' - Culture Shock
“The Shock of the Nude” (Part 2 of four) recalls the controversy surrounding French painter Edouard Manet's “Olympia” when it was shown at the Paris Salon in 1865. “Olympia” was “shocking,” says narrator John Lithgow, but the model's nudity had little to do with it. Rather, it was her facial expression (almost brazen), the painting's take on contemporary mores (almost mocking) and its style (broad brush strokes that some thought “childish”). The hour also compares “Olympia” to earlier nudes, and it sketches Manet's life (1832-83).