Nude tribute to Manet's Olympia ends in cuffing

Disrobed performance artist rumpus at Paris's Musée d'Orsay

A Luxembourg performance artist earned herself a cuffing over the weekend after she stripped off in front of Edouard Manet's Olympia at Paris's Musée d'Orsay.

Deborah de Robertis treated art lovers visiting Splendour and Misery: Images of Prostitution 1850-1910 to a recreation of the celebrated work's reclining nude.

The painting caused a bit of a rumpus when it was first shown in 1865, and De Robertis's unveiling proved no less lively, as a museum spokeswoman told AFP: "There were many people in front of the painting. Security guards responded well, they closed the room and asked her to get dressed. As she refused, the police were called and removed her."

While the museum is demanding charges of indecent exposure, the artist's lawyer, Tewfik Bouzenoune, described the event as "an artistic performance", with De Robertis "wearing a portable camera to film the public's reaction".

De Robertis has previous form for shock exposure at the Musée d'Orsay. Back in 2014, she exposed her genitalia (link NSFW) in front of Gustave Courbet's explicit L'Origine du monde (The Origin of the world, link similarly NSFW). That performance - for a video entitled Mirror of Origin - also resulted in police intervention. ®


The model for Olympia was Victorine Meurent, who also appeared in Manet's similarly controversial Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe. That too is part of the Musée d'Orsay's collection, so De Robertis has a suitable subject for a third cuffing, should she so wish.

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