Absinthe Drinker, Manet

Absinthe Drinker, Manet
Absinthe Drinker, Manet

Although it may seem otherwise, many artists who are today considered great geniuses of painting had a difficult life and their art was not always well recognized, this is precisely the case of the artist we are analyzing today, Edouard Manet, who Today he is considered one of the forerunners of Impressionism and one of the most remarkable artists of all time. However, it is not entirely true that Manet belonged to the Impressionist group, rather, the generation of young painters who were breaking the norms of art found a source of enlightenment in this artist who, Although he never left the official art circles, his narrow rules never allowed him to belong to it and many of his pieces were rejected in the Official Salons.

Manet (1832- 1883) belonged to a well-to-do family that would have referred to a more well-off position for him, yet the artist entered the Thomas Couture workshop with the approval of his father while constantly going to the Louvre to study the great baroque and romantic painters.


The work we are analyzing here is en titled The Absinthe Drinker and it is an oil on canvas that the artist painted between 1858 and 1859. The theme of the absinthe drinkers Absinthe was very typical of the time and other artists such as Degas also made incredible compositions with the same theme. The work is an oil on canvas ofvertical format that measures more than six feet tall and just over four feet wide and is currently on display at the Glyptothek in Copenhagen.

Manet submitted the piece to the Official Salon of 1859, however it was not accepted on the grounds that the composition was too sketchy; according to the experts this was only an excuse since what was really happening was that the jury did not look favorably on the fact that the artist had treated a hard-drinking leather tanner as if he were a great hero it was.

Manet represented his character full-length, standing, wrapped in a cape and crowned by a large top hat. In the background, on a low wall, you can see the glass of absinthe, a very popular drink at the time, and next to the gentleman on the ground we can see the already empty bottle. The background is neutral and the light composition shows a typical tenebrism of Caravaggio.

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