Manet’s model, Victorine Meurent, had recently posed as the brazen nudes in Olympia and Luncheon on the Grass (both Musée d’Orsay, Paris). Here, appearing relatively demure, she flaunts an intimate silk dressing gown. Critics eyed the painting as a rejoinder to Courbet’s Woman with a Parrot and as indicative of Manet’s "current vice" of failing to "value a head more than a slipper." Recent scholars have interpreted it as an allegory of the five senses: the nosegay (smell), the orange (taste), the parrot-confidant (hearing), and the man’s monocle she fingers (sight and touch).
parrotwomanbirddressing gownoil on canvas