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The Execution of Maximilian

             In this essay, the painting-The Execution of Maximilian I and the sculptural installation-The Execution of Christ have been selected to demonstrate how two artworks in different periods can have many similarities yet still hold true to their own beliefs, their relationship with the subject and his or their intended viewing audience to create a definitive style. A French impressionism artist, Édouard Manet's painting, The Execution of Maximilian I (fig. 1),1868–69, oil on canvas, 99 3/16 x 118 7/8" (252 x 302 cm), Kunsthalle, Mannheim1 and Beijing-based artists, the Gao Brothers' sculptural installation, The Execution of Christ (fig. 2), 2009, bronze, life size, have been selected to represent the historical and contemporary works respectively. .
             In The Execution of Maximilian I, Manet depicts a contemporary event of political significance - the fatal moment when the idealistic but naive archduke of Austria, Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, was executed alongside two of his generals by Benito Juárez's Mexican forces in 1867. Clearly, he draws on the model of Goya's earlier painting, The Third of May (fig. 4), 1808 in which2 the massacre of Spanish nationalists by invading French under the orders of Napoleon I. Hundred years later, the Gao Brothers appropriated from Edouard Manet's The Execution of Maximilian and created The Execution of Christ (fig.3). Both works show the executioners at right, the executed at left. But how the scenes are depicted, the tone and mood set by Manet and the Gao Brothers, are distinctly different.
             The reasons why both artists create the artworks:.
             Before comparing the visual compositions of two artworks,I am going to discuss what causes them to create such works. Firstly, though not generally a politically motivated painter, Manet paint was inspired to make a statement about Maximilian's execution.As a republican, he disapproved of Napoleon III's actions including the controversial French intervention in Mexico3.

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