ÉDOUARD MANET (1832 - 1883)
Boy with Sword, 1861



 

The boy's features resemble those of Léon-Édouard Koëlla-Leenhoff (1852 – 1927), the illegitimate son of Suzanne Leenhoff and – presumably – Édouard Manet. Painted in 1861, it was shown for the first time in the exhibition opened on 1st of March 1863 in the gallery of Louis Martinet in Paris. The art critic Ernest Chesneau appreciated its colouring and the expressivity while Émile Zola pointed to its relation to works of Spanish painters like Velazquez and Goya.

But - in regard to the costume and the pose of the boy - this painting can also be seen as an hommage to Caravaggios "Portrait of Alof de Wignacourt". In the years 1861 and 1862, Manet created several etchings with the subject of this seemingly tender and fragile youngster.