The album cover is famous partially due to the controversy that was triggered by Annabella Lwin’s mother who alleged exploitation of a minor for immoral purposes, and instigated a Scotland Yard investigation. As a result the band was only allowed to leave the UK after McLaren promised not to promote Lwin as a “sex kitten”.Lwin was almost made to quit the band by the controversy over the publication of the photo, particularly as she was only 14 when the photo was taken.
The photo is inspired by Eduard Manet’s famous painting “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe”.Created in 1862 and 1863, its juxtaposition of a female nude with fully dressed men sparked controversy when the work was first exhibited at the Salon des Refusés. The piece is now in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.
Manet shocked the French public by exhibiting his Déjeuner sur l’Herbe(“Luncheon on the Grass”) because it is not a realist painting in the social or political sense of Daumier, but it is a statement in favor of the artist’s individual freedom. The shock value of a woman, naked as can be, casually lunching with two fully dressed men, which was an affront to the propriety of the time, was accentuated by the familiarity of the figures. Manet’s wife, Suzanne Leenhoff, and his favorite model, Victorine Meurent, both posed for the nude woman, which has Meurent’s face, but Leenhoff’s plumper body.Her body is starkly lit and she stares directly at the viewer. The two men are Manet’s brother Eugene Manet and his future brother in law, Ferdinand Leenhoff. They are dressed like dandies. The men seem to be engaged in conversation, ignoring the woman. In front of them, the woman’s clothes, a basket of fruit, and a round loaf of bread are displayed, as in a still life. In the background a lightly clad woman bathes in a stream. Too large in comparison with the figures in the foreground, she seems to float above them. The roughly painted background lacks depth — giving the viewer the impression that the scene is not taking place outdoors, but in a studio. This impression is reinforced by the use of broad “photographic” light, which casts almost no shadows: in fact, the lighting of the scene is inconsistent and unnatural. The man on the right wears a flat hat with a tassel, of a kind normally worn indoors.
Manet’s original :
- indie-cover-stories posted this