A Modern Olympia

A Modern Olympia
Artist Paul Cézanne
Year c. 1873
Medium Oil on campus
Location Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France
Dimensions 18.1 x 21.9 in
46 x 55.5 cm
Famous Paintings by Cézanne
Pyramid of Skulls
The Bathers
The Card Players
The Basket of Apples
Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier
A Modern Olympia
Complete Works

A Modern Olympia, by Paul Cézanne, is an oil on canvas artwork presently owned by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. It is a small painting that measures 18.11 by 21.9 inches. It was completed around 1873.

Style and Composition

Cezanne had tackled the subject in an earlier painting dating from 1870, when the painter had been inspired by Manet’s Olympia. By the time he addressed the subject again, his style had moved increasingly towards impressionism, which is demonstrated in this painting.

The painting depicts a naked, black servant dramatically removing a sheet from a bed, revealing Olympia who is also naked. In the foreground, a balding, bearded man is sitting on a couch watching the scene. It is almost certain that the man is Cézanne himself.


As with Monet’s painting, this work was considered quite shocking at the time. Olympia was a name used to describe prostitutes in Paris. This blunt portrayal of what is seemingly a client visiting a prostitute attracted a lot of criticism from both the general public and art critics.

One response to “A Modern Olympia”

  1. P N Prakash says:

    Cezanne’s painting is a stylistic, experimental, response to the more famous work of Manet on the same theme. Undoubtedly, it is a naked celebration of nudity.the man in black watching the fun must be the artist himself. The furore that ensued it’s exhibition, notwithstanding, it is a beautiful work.

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