This article situates Édouard Manet’s The Ragpicker (1865–70) within the context of two emerging aspects in nineteenth-century France: consumerism and old age. By reading the painting alongside Baudelaire’s writings on ragpickers, which refer to the same peculiar and uncommon characteristics and to an affinity between aged people and the refuse the pickers collect and recycle, this essay suggests that the painting serves as a social commentary on consumerism and the state of the growing elder population, and also situates the modern artist himself as a sort of ragpicker.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)