10 Real Paintings Featured In The Show (And What They Mean)

Currently streaming on Netflix, Blue period is the long-awaited adaptation of one of the most critically acclaimed manga of recent years. It follows aimless teenager Yatora as he discovers a passion for art, and the long and difficult journey he takes to earn a scholarship to art school.

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Along the way, viewers will be treated to a cavalcade of beautiful paintings by Yatora and his classmates. All artists learn from imitation and the series features famous paintings from the real world.

ten Girl with a Pearl Earring (Johannes Vermeer, 1665)


blue period girl with a pearl earring

This painting by Johannes Vermeer is used by Oda, the teacher at Yatora Preparatory School, as an example of a masterpiece with a clear composition, and it’s not hard to see why: its simple image and iconic cemented it as a recognizable image. painting in the art world.

It stands out even from Vermeer’s other works, with the plain dark background contrasting with his usual scenes of cluttered, realistic domestic life. What really draws viewers to the painting, however, is the expression on the girl’s face: an enigmatic face like that of the Mona Lisa.

9 Seascape near Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (Vincent Van Gogh, 1888)


Marine blue period Near Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

This seascape isn’t one of Van Gogh’s most famous works, but it still shows off his ever-brilliant use of color and movement. Like all great seascapes, the waves seem to have been captured in an instant and yet still on the verge of crashing again.

Van Gogh wrote to his brother about how difficult it was to capture the exact color of the sea, noting that it changed with every movement of light. Blues, greens, yellows and purplish tones can all be seen in this painting.


8 Gabrielle d’Estrées and one of her sisters (Unknown, circa 1594)


Viewers might well have done a double take when this painting appeared in the explanation of Oda’s composition. There is (supposedly) an innocent explanation, as the gesture was taken as announcing the woman’s pregnancy.

It is a fascinating work, both provocative and enigmatic, which survives even with the name of the long-lost painter.


seven Poppy Field (Gustav Klimt, 1907)


blue period poppy field

Gustav Klimt might be most famous for his works featuring human figures, such as The kiss, but his landscapes – like this one, of which Yatora was commissioned to make a replica in order to practice composition – are still instantly recognizable as his work, thanks to their incredibly vivid use of color; Looking at this painting really feels like peeking into a fantasy world.

This immersion is heightened by the way the composition draws the gaze into the dreamscape, which, as Yatora learns, is extremely powerful in effect.


6 The Desperate (Gustave Courbet, 1843-45)


blue period the desperate man

Gustave Courbet is notable for his emphasis on realism, with many of his most famous paintings depicting scenes of peasants and laborers working in the countryside. This close-up self-portrait, with Courbet himself staring wildly at the viewer, stands out. as an astonishing testimony to the strength of an artist’s personality.

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It’s so applicable to the series, in fact, that a recreation of it featuring Yatora appeared as one of the manga chapter’s cover pages. The desperation to make good art is, it seems, something that transcends eras, styles and the barrier between fiction and reality.


5 Young Woman with Water Jug (Johannes Vermeer, 1662-65)


blue period young woman with a jug of water

The audience gets a good look at this painting in Episode 3, as it’s the example Hashida uses when detailing his opinion of art as “inedible food.” Even so, it would be easy to confuse it with one of Vermeer’s most famous works, The milk girl. Both paintings represent a woman dressed in blue, with a jug, under a window in a domestic space.

This repetition of the theme should not be seen as negative, however, it rather shows how devoted Vermeer was to perfecting a particular type of mood.


4 A young woman in 1866 (Édouard Manet, 1866)


blue period damsel 1866

The truly wonderful thing about this painting, which appears in the background in Episode 3, is that it combines a masterful portrait with elements of still life – the seemingly incongruous peeled orange on the floor being one of a kind‘s business cards. Manet clearly wants to show everything he can do.

And, yes, it is Manet, despite the absence of his trademark boundary-pushing subject seen in works like Lunch on the Grass and Olympia, which questioned what nudes could be in art. Still, it’s an extraordinary piece, and one that Yatora hopes for looked better than viewers.




3 Madame Manet at Bellevue (Édouard Manet, 1880)


blue period madame manet in bellevue

It is the second portrait of Manet that can be spotted in the background when Yatora and his classmates visit the art gallery, and it serves, alongside Manet’s previous A young woman, like a kind of microcosm of Manet’s entire career, the careful realism of the earlier work giving way to the few impressionistic brushstrokes of this painting.

But, whatever style he uses, Manet remains one of the best portrait painters of all time. With just a handful of brush strokes, he perfectly captures his woman’s quiet poise.


2 The Dance Class (Edgar Degas, 1874)


blue period the dance class

This is the painting that really captures Yatora’s attention and inspiration when he sees it in the museum with Hashida and Yotasuke, and it’s not hard to see why. Of all his many works and subjects, Degas’s ballet studies are the most admired. The sparkling tutus and the elegant, expressive gestures of the dancers are perfectly suited to Impressionism, but Degas is also able to give the comfortable scene a domestic and realistic feel.

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Fun fact: the male figure is actually a famous ballet master, Jules Perrot.


1 Starry Night (Vincent Van Gogh, 1888)


starry night blue period

Not The starry Night, that famous swirling sky that almost all spectators know; this similarly titled painting was made by Van Gogh several months earlier and shows him discovering the color effects he would later use to such great effect.

This piece captivates Yatora, who chooses it as a work of art he likes that he must examine in monochrome. He might be drawn to her because, with her blue palette and quiet nocturnal atmosphere, she reminds him of the pre-dawn Shibuya that inspired his very first painting.

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