Zola Manet Salon Kunstkritik Olympia

Manet Zola als Druckversion (PDF mit Abb. 635 KB)

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Das Fleisch des Malers. Manet malt Zola, Zola schreibt über Manet

in: Magazin der Basler Zeitung, Nr. 13, 3.4.1999, S. 6-7.

Kapitel I: Einleitung

Als Emile Zola 1867 seinen zweiten Roman „Thérèse Raquin“, eine Tragödie von Elend, Ehebruch, Mord und Selbstmord, veröffentlicht, sieht er sich den wüsten Beschimpfungen ausgesetzt, er habe eine Kloake, einen Kehrichthaufen, eine Schmutz- und Blutpfütze geboten. Der zweiten Auflage, die im Frühjahr 1868 erscheint, stellt er daher ein Vorwort voran, in dem er sein literarisches Verfahren rechtfertigt.

Er habe, schreibt Zola, ganz einfach die analytische Arbeit an zwei lebenden Körpern vorgenommen, wie sie Chirurgen an Leichen vornähmen. Es sei hart, wenn man nach einer solchen allein der Wahrheit verpflichteten Arbeit den Vorwurf der Leute höre, man habe keinen anderen Zweck verfolgt, als anstössige Szenen zu schildern. Er habe sich in der Lage eines Malers befunden, „der ohne den leisesten sinnlichen Gedanken nackte Körper wiedergibt und zutiefst erstaunt ist, wenn ein Kritiker seiner Entrüstung über die lebendige Dastellung des Fleisches Ausdruck gibt“.

Der Maler, an den Zola beim Schreiben dieser Zeilen denkt, ist Edouard Manet, dessen „lebendige Darstellung des Fleisches“ der „Olympia“ im Salon von 1865 ebenfalls heftige sittliche Empörung hervorrief.

Die Annäherung Zolas an Manet ist so stürmisch wie kalkuliert. In der ersten Kunstkritik, mit der er an die Öffentlichkeit tritt, den Berichten über den Salon von 1866, nimmt Zola den Maler mit Worten in Schutz, mit denen er sich im Vorwort zu „Thérèse Raquin“ ein Jahr später selbst verteidigen wird: Manet sei ein Künstler, der allein die Wahrheit suche, ohne dabei auf den Zeitgeschmack oder das moralische Empfinden Rücksicht zu nehmen. Zwar kennt er damals Manet und dessen Werke kaum, doch nach den Wirbeln um das „Frühstück im Freien“ und um die „Olympia“ weiss er um den Skandalwert dieses Namens.

Dem acht Jahre älteren Maler ist bereits gelungen, wonach der junge, ehrgeizige Zola sucht: mit Werken, die einer künstlerischen Revolution gleichkommen, ins Rampenlicht der Öffentlichkeit zu treten. Die erhoffte Wirkung tritt auch ein. Zolas Verteidigung des Malers bringt dem Herausgeber des „L’Événement“ eine solche Flut von Protesten ein, dass er ihm die Berichterstattung über den Salon entzieht. Im letzten Artikel verabschiedet sich Zola mit den pathetischen Worten, immer die Partei der Besiegten zu ergreifen. Zwischen den unbezähmbaren Temperamenten und der Masse bestehe ein offener Kampf, in dem er für die Temperamente einstehe und die Masse angreife. Sein Prozess sei entschieden, und er sei verurteilt worden.

Ein Jahr später lässt Zola eine längere Studie über Manet folgen, in der er nicht nur dessen Leben und Werke, sondern sich selbst als Richter beschreibt, der wegen seiner Unvoreingenommenheit zum Verfolgten der öffentlichen Meinung wurde. Zola schildert den Maler als kompromissloses Temperament und zugleich als „Kind seiner Zeit“, als „analytischen Maler“, der sich wie ein Wissenschaftler der exakten Beobachtung von Tatsachen zuwende:

„Ich behaupte“, heisst es von der Olympia, „dass dieses Gemälde wahrlich das Fleisch und Blut des Malers ist und dass er nie wieder etwas Vergleichbares erschaffen wird. In ihm kommt sein Temperament vollständig zum Ausdruck, und es enthält nur ihn. Auf weissen Leintüchern liegend, bildet Olympia einen grossen blassen Fleck vor dem schwarzen Hintergrund. Verehrter Meister, sagen Sie jenen doch, dass sie keineswegs das sind, was jene denken, und dass ein Bild für Sie ein blosser Vorwand für eine Analyse ist. Sie benötigten eine nackte Frau, und Sie haben Olympia, die erstbeste, gewählt; Sie benötigten schwarze Flecken, und Sie haben eine Negerin und eine Katze in einer Ecke untergebracht. Was soll dies alles bedeuten? Sie wissen es nicht so recht und ich auch nicht. Aber ich weiss, dass es Ihnen geglückt ist, die Wahrheit von Licht und Schatten, die Realität der Dinge und der Lebewesen kraftvoll in eine eigene Sprache zu übersetzen.“

Zola stilisiert Manet als Mitstreiter und Verwandten im Geiste. Für ihn führt Manet in die Malerei den „Naturalismus“ ein, den er in diesen Jahren als seinen Beitrag zur Literatur zu konzipieren beginnt und ab 1870 in den zwanzig Romanen des „Rougon-Macquart“-Zyklus verwirklichen wird.

Punkt Manet Zola Kapitel I Kapitel I: Einleitung
Manet Zola Kapitel II Kapitel II: Zolas Kunstauffassung …
Kapitel III: … auf Manet angewendet
Kapitel IV: Das Bild als Artefakt
Kapitel V: Der Aspekt der Peinture
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Manet Zola als Druckversion (PDF mit Abb. 635 KB)

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