Calvin Klein's Kate Moss Ad vs. Manet's "Olympia" Comparison Essay by scribbler

Calvin Klein's Kate Moss Ad vs. Manet's "Olympia"
Compares the public reaction to Calvin Klein's advertisement featuring a young Kate Moss to Impressionist Edouard Manet's painting of a reclining nude woman "Olympia".
# 153444 | 1,615 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Jun 03, 2013 in Art (Painting) , Advertising (History) , Women Studies (Women and Society)

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This paper explains that, although from different historical periods, both Edouard Manet's painting "Olympia" and Calvin Klein's ad campaign, a series of advertisements for Obsession for Men featuring the young Kate Moss, challenged conventional notions of what constitutes art and appropriate subjects of art. Next, the author related that both have been the targets of moralizing campaigns that viewed their use of the nude as exploitative and titillating. The paper concludes that these reactions were because Manet's culture was forced to confront the potential power of a prostitute to make an income and own her sexuality and because Moss looked so childish and boyish in advertisements specifically directed at men.

From the Paper:

"Because of her thinness, Moss looks almost childlike, and the fact that her breasts are not displayed allows the male viewer to fantasize that perhaps she has not yet been able to develop them. The Lolita-like aspect of the photograph was supposed to be a reaction against the supermodels of the previous that looked extremely put together and worldly. Klein said that he designed the photograph to show a woman who was not conscious of her beauty and physical appearance: "it's very real and modern when a woman's hair looks a little dirty, when it slicks together a little". Moss' sloppy, unwashed, apparently artless and almost adolescent self presentation in was the ideal Klein was striving for in the photograph.
"When Olympia was first released to the public, viewers were uncertain how to respond to the artwork. "Was he trying to produce a serious work of art? Was Olympia an attempt to parody other paintings? Or, worst of all, was he mocking them?" In contrast, Klein's advertisement presents itself in a serious fashion. Its black and white texture suggests 'high art' photography. There is none of the playfulness or humor that most modern advertisements embrace."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Lague, Louise. "How thin is too thin?" People. September 20, 1993. April 12, 2011.,,20106294,00.html
  • "The shock of the nude: Manet's Olympia." Culture Shock. PBS. 2000. April 12, 2011.
  • "Titan's Venus of Urbino." Art 213. SUNY Oneonta. April 12, 2011.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Calvin Klein's Kate Moss Ad vs. Manet's "Olympia" (2013, June 03) Retrieved December 02, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Calvin Klein's Kate Moss Ad vs. Manet's "Olympia"" 03 June 2013. Web. 02 December. 2023. <>