Edouard Manet’s painting “The Bar at the Folies Bergeres”, painted in 1882, is one of the most famous works of the master and the most famous work of pictorial art. The bar shown in the painting was on the ground floor of one of the most famous variety shows in Paris at the end of the 19th century. Manet was very fond of being there, the chic and splendor of the nightlife has always attracted him, and in this room he wrote this masterpiece.
Manet made sketches and sketches of the future painting right in the bar, asking his friend and the barmaid to pose for him. The original idea of the picture – the conversation between the visitor and the bartender Manet later changed: only the brooding barmaid remained.
The picture is very symbolic and significant. The mirror hanging behind the counter incorrectly reflects the female bartender, as if trying to show her past. The pensive and aloof look of the barmaid and the fact that she is completely indifferent to the guests also add mystery to the work.
The cheerful crowd of guests and the lonely girl at the bar are in sharp contrast to each other. Guests – a bohemian society of artists and aesthetes are depicted on the left side of the picture. The artist gave these people arrogance, the desire to exhibit – many of the vices of the society in which the artist moved.
One of the features of this painting by Edouard Manet is the skillful play of black, which is very difficult to achieve. The many hidden symbols, the deep meaning of the depicted action distinguish this work of the artist from many others.
Year of painting: 1882.
Dimensions of the painting: 96 x 130 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Gallery: Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK.