One of his most famous works – “Absinthe” Edgar Degas wrote in 1893, initially calling it “People in the Cafe”.
In the picture, the artist depicted two people – a man and a woman sitting at a cafe table. It is noticeable that the woman is pretty drunk, while the man is completely sober. Degas was familiar with these people in real life, the depicted woman is a popular actress at that time, appearing before the audience not on stage, but during rest.
On the table in front of the woman is a glass filled with absinthe. By her appearance, it is noticeable that she has already drunk pretty much, which is also evidenced by her posture: slightly extended relaxed legs, a hunched figure with lowered shoulders, indifference to her surroundings is read on her face. A man sitting at the same table in a cafe is in some way opposed to a woman: in front of him there is a glass on the table, in which there is a remedy for the hangover syndrome: mazagran. His gaze is directed to the side, his eyes are bloodshot.
The situation depicted by Degas in the painting “Absinthe” takes place in the morning. The furnishings are complemented by a few interior items: a decanter of water for diluting absinthe, newspapers for café visitors, a specially cut mirror on the wall, which reflects the window through which morning light enters.
The composition of the painting is unusual for the works of that time; Degas became an innovator in some way. A certain photographic quality of the work is combined with the displacement of its characters, which creates the effect of a certain fleetingness and randomness of what is happening. Edgar Degas wanted to show the distance of even familiar people from each other in contemporary Paris. The painting “Absinthe” is a real masterpiece, the artist tried to show the audience the effect produced by absinthe: displacement and even distortion of the surrounding reality.
Year of painting: 1876.
Dimensions of the painting: 92 x 68 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Gallery: Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.