A Bar At The Foiles-Bergere Analysis

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In the mid to late 1800’s, Paris was a hotbed of culture and money, with entertainment as the main commodity of the wealthy and upper middle class. The Foiles-Bergere, a popular nightclub at the time, was entertainment, spectacle, and intoxication incarnate. The atmosphere was described as sensuous and mysterious: “the aroma of cigar and of woman [became] thicker; the gas lights burn[ed] more heavily, reflected in the mirrors that reverberate them from one end of the theatre to the other.” It is this famed nightclub that features as Edouard Manet’s subject in his equally famous painting, A Bar at the Foiles-Bergere. Manet’s painting sparked the modern art community’s psyche, his skewed use of perspective and blunt portrayal of a late 1800’s…show more content…
The painting features a woman behind a bar, with a mirror, reflecting a crowded theatre and a patron at the bar, behind her. The brushstrokes are rough and painterly, with some details of the painting in vivid color, but mostly in the darker colors one would find at that time. One of the ambiguities that have fascinated theorists is the mirror’s reflection. The perspective of the reflection is skewed, but gives the impression that the viewer is the man featured in the left of the painting. Another is the woman herself, and her true identity and purpose in the…show more content…
It is a “juggling of fact and illusion,” designed to dramatize the questions of vision and reflects raised by the painting. The eye is no longer sure of what it is seeing, as Manet intended: “The eye should forget all else it has seen...guided only by the will, oblivious of previous training.” This interpretation explains the inadequacies in perspective and reflection as challenges of the

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