Deborah de Robertis | Reclining Nude at the Musée d’Orsay

Olympia by Edouard Manet, the painting recreated by De Robertis. Photograph: Public domain
Olympia by Edouard Manet, the painting recreated by De Robertis.

Performance artist Deborah de Robertis arrested for being nude in front of a nude.

Olympia, the iconic painting by Edouard Manet, is, one and a half century after its creation, still triggering new artistic works as well as little scandals. Deborah de Robertis, who gained a lot of attention for recreating  Gustave Courbet’s infamous L’Origine du monde (Origin of the World), in front of the 1866 painting, came back to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. This time the Luxembourgian performance artist tried to resurrect Manet’s nude painting of the prostitute Olympia, on display as part of an exhibition entitled Splendour and Misery.

An image inspired by Manet's Olympia, posted by Deborah de Robertis on her Facebook page. Photo: via Deborah de Robertis's Facebook.
Revitalazing Manet’s Olympia. An image posted by Deborah de Robertis on her Facebook page.

However, after disrobing and reclining in front of Olympia, recreating the pose of the famous painting’s subject while wearing nothing but a portable camera, Deborah de Robertis was arrested for indecent exposure.

“This time I wanted to show the feminine model Olympia in the age of the iPhone.”

It was not the Olympia’s first scandal: Her confrontational gaze caused shock and astonishment when the painting was first exhibited at the 1865 Paris Salon because a number of details in the picture identified her as a prostitute.

“In both cases, I chose works of art that scandalised people at the time they were produced, so another aspect of what I am doing is to recreate the scandal in a contemporary setting,”