I am writing a paper about this painting, and I just found a great poem that unfortunately I can’t use in my essay. However, I can share it here! It’s called Manet’s Olympia, by Margaret Atwood. I think it does a great job of expressing the spunk that I see in this painting.
By Margaret Atwood
She reclines, more or less, Try that posture, it’s hardly languor. Her right arm sharp angles. With her left she conceals her ambush. Shoes but not stockings, how sinister. the flower behind her ear is naturally not real, of a piece with the sofa’s drapery. The windows (if any) are shut. This is indoor sin. Above the head of the (clothed) maid is an invisible voice balloon: Slut.
But. Consider the body, unfragile, defiant, the pale nipples staring you right in the bull’s eye. Consider also the black ribbon around the neck. What’s under it? A fine red threadline, where the head was taken off and glued back on. The body’s on offer, but the neck’s as afar as it goes.
This is no morsel. Put clothes on her and you’d have a schoolteacher, the kind with the brittle whiphand.
There’s someone else in this room. You, Monsieur Voyeur. As for that object of yours she’s seen those before, and better.
I, the head, am the only subject of this picture. You, Sir, are furniture. Get stuffed.
I found this poem and picture here
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