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A bar at the Folies-Bergere by Edouard Manet

Categories: BooksVisual Arts

This is an art work representing A bar at the Folies-Bergere which was painted and displayed at the Paris Salon in the year 1882 and was mainly referred to as the last work by a famous French art worker, Edouard Manet. The painting represents a scene at the Folies Bergere night club at Paris. However, the painting was originally made by a close friend to Manet by the name Emmanuel Chabier but had hung it over his piano. The artwork is at the present found at the Courtauld Gallery in London.

It was a painting that illustrated Manuel’s commitment to realism where its details represent a fashionable scene. Basically, there is a point of concern from a critic’s perspective on the conversation that the barmaid and the customer maybe an optical trick. It is because the man is standing on the left out of the artist’s vision looking away from the barmaid instead of being in front of her.

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Accordingly, the observer ought to have stood at the right and close to the bar more than the man with his image reflecting at the right edge of the picture. It is a presumably an unusual departure from the common central point of view used when observing draw works according to perspective. The artwork also presents a clue on the social classes and millie. The woman here was a real person, Suzon working at the Folies-Bergere where in Manet poses her in his studio. Having an orange dish signifies that she is a prostitute since it was believed that Manet associates oranges to prostitutes in which the Folies-Bergere was known for.

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It was thus a place of buy a drink accompanied by a commodity.

The Judith Beheading Holofernes represents real events drawn by Caravaggio showing Judith beheading Holofernes painted on c. 1598-1599. At first, Judith the widow lures general Holofernes then beheads him in his tent. The artwork was rediscovered in 1950 and is in the collections of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Rome. Besides, a deuterocanonical Book of Judith narrates on how she worked for her people by seducing and pleasuring Holofernes, the General to Syria. She has Holofernes drunk then slips her sword and kills him. For this artwork, an approach maybe from the moment of the greatest dramatic act which is mainly the deception. The events occur in a shallow stage with an inky black background. Abra, Judith’s maid is standing beside her boss to the right were Judith stretches out her arm to hold a sword against Holofernes neck who is lying on his stomach as his neck twists as his head turns to face his killer since he is defenseless.

A close view reveals that Caravaggio adjusts Holofernes head before going on to chop it off slightly from the other body and moving it carefully to the right side. The three character’s faces are an illustration of the painter’s mastery of emotion precisely Judith’s expressions depicting a combination of both disgust and determination. Furthermore, this art piece plays a great role in influencing other painters such as Artemisia Gentileschi who are mainly surpassed by Caravaggio’s realism. It is arguably stated that none has ever matched Artemisia’s capture of Judith’s psychological uncertainty. Judith’s model is probably a courtesan Fillide Melandroni who poses for Caravaggio’s other works around the same year. The whole scene, but more precisely the blood and decapitation are argued to have been from his observations of Beatrice Cenci public execution some years back. I thus view it as a heroic act since she liberates her people from the oppressing rules of General Holofernes.

The Pieta sculpture represents the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Jesus just after the crucifixion, death and removal from cross before being placed in the tomb. It signifies one of the major events in Mary’s life among the Seven Sorrows of Mary which are subject at the Catholic Church prayers. It was a special work since multi-figured sculptures were rare even during the renaissance period. By examining this artwork, we notice that Mary’s body is proportionally larger than Christ’s. Michelangelo might have done this on purpose since it was necessary that Mary should support the body of Jesus. With that, it would look awkward if Mary’s body was same as Christ’s and make it difficult to hold him on her lap as gracefully as she does. Michelangelo achieves this by adding garments on her lap showing how good he was in drilling deep into marble to achieve such. It thus makes it look much actual other than a mere marble.

Mary seems devastated by the events that have just occurred thus filled with graceful acceptance. She is confronted by the reality of her son’s death where on the other hand, Christ seems to be in a peaceful sleep and not one who has undergone all that torture and bloody suffering for hours. The Virgins right hand does not touch Christs flesh but covers it with cloth signifying the sacredness of Christs body. The two figures are idealized despite the suffering reflecting the High Renaissance belief in Neo-Platonic ideal that earths beauty is a reflection of God’s beauty with the figures emphasizing on the divine’s beauty. However, the Virgin appears very young to bare a thirty-three-year old son. Michelangelo’s response on this was that women are capable of keeping their beauty longer meaning the Virgin did not grow old as other women do.

This artistic work represents a Migrant Mother, particularly it’s a timeless image of hardship and courage. It is titled Migrant Mother and it was taken in 1936. The art stands as the most iconic image by Dorothea Lance the architect and was mainly made under the support of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) initiative at a time of America’s Great Depression. It was at moment when she was walking through a pea picker’s camp on her way back home from an FSA field trip, Lange noticed this thirty-two-year-old woman who had seven children. She did not have any job to cater for their needs and they were living on wild birds brought by the children. She was basically helpless since she did not know what to do for her children since no work was available for her to earn some coupons for their upkeep.

She was unable to move and told Lange it was because she had already sold the tires from her car for food. The facial expression on this mother’s face evokes feelings of exhaustion, unease, and fear or an uncertain future. The image described above might be one of the most famous, well known, and recognizable photographs to be taken in the Great Depression era. The photo takes the overall feeling of how difficult it was to survive during the depression and presents it in a single face. Anyone viewing this image can feel the simultaneous fear and strength that the woman exudes, as well as the love she has for her children, and the worry she has or their well-being.

The artwork of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is surely a mark of radical break from the obvious traditional structure and perception of painting. The piece of work shows five naked women with figure of flat, fractured planes and faces stirred by Iberian sculpture and African masks. The space compressed figures seem to propel serrated wrecks with fiercely protruded slices of melon in the still life of a fruit in a combination of staggers at an impossibly upturned tabletop. The painting was unveiled by Picasso at his monumental painting studio in Paris following months of revision. The Avignon of the art work’s title is a reference to a famous street in Barcelona well known for its brothel. Originally, during Picasso’s preparatory study of the work, it is noticeable that the figure at the left is a man but he deliberately left this detail on his final painting. It however shows five naked prostitutes in a brothel where two of them push curtains at a space where others make a seductive and erotic pose.

Accordingly, their figures are a combination of flat splintered planes instead of rounded volumes with eyes in a lopsided manner while the two women at the right bare threatening masks for head. Moreover, the space which seems withdrawn comes out in spikey remains such as broken glass. At the cool bottom end, we have a piece of melon which slices the air just as a machete. Picasso presumes that the African masks which are in the faces of the figures on the right act as a protection against evil spirits where he admits that this work was his first exorcism painting. The most specific threat that he had in his mind was about a life-threatening sexual disease which was a source of considerable anxiety in Paris at that time and this painting clearly linked this sexual pleasure to morality. To my understanding, I presume that the danger within prostitution was the sexually transmitted infections and morally unethical.

Paul Cezanne is preferably the most iconic painter of the last 200 years and has been accredited with laying a foundation to one of the most influential 20th century art movements. The best of his compilations involves use of simple objects such as apples, peaches, pears as well as oranges. However, what made him to be prolific as compared to other artists of the late 19th century was due to his approach to color, the meaning, perspective and the purpose of the same. In Still Life with Bottle and Apple Basket, or popularly known as The Basket of Apples dated 1893, there is a compilation of his favorite painting objects and a diagonal brush marks on the table surface and horizontal marks on the fruits. He basically made brush strokes on every single object on this painting.

Following photography advent, it was no longer crucial to replicate the reality carried upon painters of 19th and 20th century to understand and embrace this vital turn of events to explore this new path of other characteristics of medium along with their tools. For this painting, Cezanne assumes that we all know how an apple looks like. We have all seen a peach and thus we ought to take a step and consider other aspects of the object. Furthermore, his concern is majorly on the shape, volume, perspective, color and composition which is way far more than just replicating what is already familiar to the viewer. The right side of the table is also not the same as the left side where this is a strategy he uses to portray perspective to incorporate the differences view point into an impressionistic still life. By this technique, he bridges the gap of impressionism and cubism which was key in varying perspective and angles to showcase focusses.


  • Ross, N. (1982). Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergre and the myths of popular illustration. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press.
  • Collins, B. R. (Ed.). (1996). Twelve Views of Manet’s Bar. Princeton University Press.
  • Schapiro, M., &C?zanne, P. (1965). Paul Czanne. Abrams.
  • Spring, J. (2012). The cultural transformation of a Native American family and its tribe 1763-1995: A basket of apples. Routledge.
  • Picasso, P. (2001). Picasso’s: Les Demoiselles D’Avignon. Cambridge University Press.
  • Picasso, P., & Seckel, H. (1988). Les demoiselles d’Avignon(Vol. 1). Ministre de la culture et de la communication, Editions de la Runion des muses nationaux.
  • Lang, D. (1936). Migrant mother.
  • Curtis, J. C. (1986). Dorothea Lange, migrant mother, and the culture of the Great Depression. Winterthur Portfolio, 21(1), 1-20.
  • Bernardini, F., Rushmeier, H., Martin, I. M., Mittleman, J., & Taubin, G. (2002). Building a digital model of Michelangelo’s Florentine Pieta. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 22(1), 59-67.
  • Steinberg, L. (1968). Michelangelo’s Florentine PietA: the missing leg. The Art Bulletin, 50(4), 343-353.
  • Estes, H. (2003). Feasting with Holofernes: Digesting Judith in Anglo-Saxon England. Exemplaria, 15(2), 325-350.
  • Fee, C. (1997). Judith and the rhetoric of heroism in Anglo-Saxon England.

Cite this page

A bar at the Folies-Bergere by Edouard Manet. (2019, Dec 03). Retrieved from

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