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The UrchinEnlarge image

The Urchin, 1862

Édouard Manet
French, 1832 - 1883
etching and drypoint on chine volant
24.2 x 16.3 cm; plate: 20.7 x 14.6 cm
Purchased 1980
National Gallery of Canada (no. 23528)

A painting by the Spanish baroque artist Bartolomé Estebán Murillo in the Hermitage collection in Saint Petersburg, which Manet most likely saw as an engraved copy, inspired this subject. The artist first made a painted version, which served as the model for the etching exhibited here. Manet has introduced a distracted sadness to the boy's appearance, not found in Murillo's image. The title of "Le gamin", or "The Urchin", suggests that the boy made a subsistence living, possibly by selling baskets or collecting discarded objects from the street for resale.

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