Lola de Valence, 1862 by Edouard Manet

Manet's espagnolisme reached fever pitch in the 1860s; any subject was good so long as it was Spanish. Rejected by the Salon, and laid out in a shed, Manet's output of the decade astonished Gustave Courbet: "So many Spaniards!" he exclaimed. When a Spanish ballet troupe came to Paris, Manet was quick to paint Lola de Valence, posing her in the same position as Duchess of Alba of Francisco Goya. Her magnificent costume, glittering with a thousand spangles, made an ideal subject for him. He loved to make his splashes of colour chime one against another, and sought to restore black as a colour in its own right. Niggardly with his praise, Baudelaire nonetheless celebrated his friend's first masterpiece in a notoriously erotic quatrain, which contributed no little to Manet's sulphurous reputation: "My friends, among so many beauties, /Desire, I conceive, may hesitate;/ But in Lola de Valence see scintillate/Surprise! A charming jewel of black and pink."