top of page

Cinema & the Arts as Sermons: The Illusion Behind Manet's "A Bar at the Folies-Bergère"

There are few paintings that can hold your gaze like Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergere. What is going on here, what is this woman thinking? And there is something wrong with the perspective and the mirror. I hope enjoy the videos and articles that help explains Manet's genius. - Andy

painting by Manet
A Bar at the Folies- Bergere by Edouard Manet

A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, 1882 by Edouard Manet

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère was presented by Manet at the 1882 Paris Salon exhibition, just one year before his death. The painting is the culmination of his interest in scenes of urban leisure and spectacle, a subject that he had developed in dialogue with Impressionism over the previous decade. The painting is a masterpiece that has perplexed and inspired artists and scholars since it was painted over 100 years ago.

The Folies-Bergère was one of the most elaborate variety-show venues in Paris, showcasing entertainment ranging from ballets to circus acts. Another attraction was the barmaids, who were assumed by many contemporary observers to be available as clandestine prostitutes. By depicting one of these women and her male customer on an imposing scale, Manet brazenly introduced a morally suspect, contemporary subject into the realm of high art. By treating the topic with deadpan seriousness and painterly brilliance, Manet staked his claim to be remembered as the heroic "painter of modern life" envisaged by critics like Charles Baudelaire.." from the article: A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, 1882 by Edouard Manet

The Illusion Behind Manet's Final Painting

Video from Art Deco

"This piece, called A Bar at the Folies-Bergère by Édouard Manet, is considered one of the most puzzling works of all time. It takes place in The Folies-Bergère, a popular music hall in Paris, in the late 19th century. The center of the piece is a barmaid named Suzon, who has an ambiguous look on her face. This painting is full of spatial and optical mysteries. Who is the man in the mirror? Why isn’t he in front of us? Why does Suzon look so different in the mirror than the woman standing in front of us? What is she feeling?" from video introduction.

Manet's A Bar at Folies Bergere

Video from zczfilms

"In light of the excellent Manet show opening at the Royal Academy, we've put together an extract from Manet: The Man Who Invented Modern Art. Waldemar muses on his last and most enigmatic painting, A Bar at the Folies Bergere." from video introduction.

front of building
Folies Bergere facade renovated in 2013


3 views0 comments
bottom of page