Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guidelines for your art projects and one example: A bar at the Folies Bergère, by Édouard Manet

Here you have the scheme to prepare your art projects. The text you write will have to include this basic information 

- Title of the painting

- Image and source

- Author

- Chronology

- Material used and dimensions

- Present location of the painting

- Information about the person or institution who commissioned the work of art or bought it.

- Description of the work of art: what is represented, positions of the figures, colours, shapes, use of light, technique (brush-strokes, movement...)

- Meaning of the work of art: symbols used (if there are), purpose of the artist...

- Why it can be considered to be a work of art included in the style it belongs to.

- Additional information: relation with the work of art with other works of the same artist, importance in art history, influence in other artists, curious information

- Why you like this painting

- Sources of information you've used 

Useful advice: 

- First, look for the information in Spanish. You have to make sure that you understand all the information before starting to write your final text. 

- When you have understood the information, check different sources in English and look up for the words you will need to explain what you want to say

- Prepare a previous scheme and be sure that you don´t forget any part. 

- Review the main features of the style and try to find them on your work of art. 

- Don´t copy and paste (I will discover it)

- Don´t use the computer translator (Again, I will discover it)

- Write simple and understandable sentences

- Copy the links of the websites you visit to include them at the end of your explanation and file them on a Word document. This way, you won't lose time looking for the links you've used when you finish your project. 

- The names of the paintings have to be written in Italic font (cursiva) and with all the words in capital letters (nouns and verbs, not prepositions). For example: Saturn Devouring His Son

If you need any help, please contact by e-mail or during the break time in the high school.

Where to find good information: 

- Museums' websites


This is an example of what you should do. You don't have to include the titles of every part. I've included them so that you can better understand how to organize the information: 



The painting I’ve chosen is A Bar at the Folies Bergère, by Édouard Manet. It was painted in 1882 and exhibited in the Paris Salon of the same year. This was Manet’s last important painting. It’s an oil painting on canvas and its dimensions are 96 cm x 130 cam. The painting was bought by Manet’s neighbor, the composer Émmanuel Chabrier, In 1926 the painting was bought by Samuel Courtauld, an art collector who founded the Courtauld Art Institute in London, where the painting is located at the moment. Courtauld paid 22,600 pounds for it. 

DESCRIPTION (explain what you see) 

The painting represents an interior scene at the Folies Bergère, the first Paris music hall, where customers could have a drink and watch a show. The central figure of the painting is a barmaid (identified as a woman could Suzon), who is standing behind a marble bar full of bottles, a glass with a white rose and a plate with oranges. There is a mirror behind her, which shows the audience watching a performance. On the right of the mirror we can also see the image of the barmaid reflected from the back and a man she’s speaking with. On the top left of the mirror we can also see two green feet belonging to a trapeze artist who is performing above the audience. The background reflected on the mirror shows that the Folies Bergère is full of people enjoying the show. 

ANALYSIS (explain what is not evident at first sight) 

Manet represented a real scene of modern life in a real place and a theme considered to be scandalous, because the Folies Bergère was famous as a place where men went to pick up prostitutes. Barmaids sold drinks and also sold themselves. The barmaid of the painting is a real person, known as Suzon, who worked at the Folies-Bergère in the early 1880s. Manet made different preparatory sketches of the painting at the Folies Bergère, but Suzon went to his studio to pose for the painting. The oranges in the foreground indicate that the barmaid is a prostitute, because Manet usually associated oranges with prostitution in his paintings.

Manet's preparatory sketch for the painting

The foreground of the painting is very detailed, while the background is blurrier, painted with an impressionist technique (loose brush-strokes and colour stains). Even the brand of the beer bottles can be identified: the red triangle on the label belonged to Bass Pale Ale, and English beer. The presence of English and not German beer in the foreground has been interpreted as an evidence of anti-German sentiment in France after the Franco-Prussian War. 

The composition using the image reflected on a mirror evokes the influence of Velázquez’ s Meninas. Manet admired Velázquez and used the same play with the images: the main figure of the painting looking directly to the viewer and the image reflected on the mirror as if it was connected with what is happening outside the painting… 

This painting received several critiques for different reasons: the theme, the perspective (considered to be imperfect, because if the girl is supposed to be talking to someone in front of her and the reflection of the man shouldn’t appear on the right of the painting, but to the centre). In 2000 a photograph was taken at the Folies Bergère trying to reproduce what Manet had painted. The photograph allowed the discovery of the point of view Manet had used to paint this scene: he broke up with the traditional way of watching paintings, when the viewer takes a central position to observe the work of art. He represented the scene from a left point of view and this explains that the reflection of the man who is speaking with the barmaid appears on the left and not to the center of the painting. 



Édouard Manet is considered to be the precursor of Impressionism, because his paintings broke up with the traditional way of representing scenes as a copy from reality. The themes of his paintings were non conventional as well and many of his works were rejected by the Academy of Painting and the critics. But the impressionist painters considered him as his master. There are impressionist features here, such as the representation of the background with loose, imperfect brush-strokes. The theme (a prostitute as the main figure) was also common in other impressionist and post-impressionist artists, such as Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. 


I like the play on images with the mirror and all the details that allow us understand the painting better. I also like the contrast between the joy of the customers in the background and Suzon’s sad face. 


Read the comments' section of this post. You'll find the work of art I've assigned you there. I've tried to respect your choices, but in the cases this hasn't been possible, I've assigned you interesting paintings. 

1 comment:

Paqui Pérez Fons said...


These are your paintings:

- Laura Bustamante: The dog by Goya

- Laura Casero: Woman combing her hair Degas (you could compare it with other paintings of naked women he made.

- Alicia: Luncheon on the grass by Manet

- Salva Fuentes: The Charge of the Mamelukes by Goya

- Fernando García: The Fighting Temeraire Tugged to Its Last Berth to Be Broken Up by Turner

- Paloma: Music at the Tuileries Renoir

- Marta: Dancer with a bouquet by Degas. You could compare it with other Degas dancers' painters

- Fernando Marcos: The potato eaters by Van Gogh

- Roxana: Abbey in the Oakwood by Friedrich

- Gonzalo: Massacre at Chios by Délacroix

- Cristina Mínguez: Third-wagon class by Daumier

- Javi: The origin of the world by Courbet

- Gema: Wanderer above the sea of fog by Friedrich

- Raquel: Children on the seashore by Sorolla. You could compare it with other Sorolla's beach paintings

- Pilar: Portrait of a desperate man by Courbet. You can research on all the self-portraits he made.

- Cristina Rodíguez: The majas by Goya

- María: Women of Algiers by Delacroix

- Ángel: Luncheon on the boating party by Renoir

- Andrea: Liberty leading the people by Délacroix

- Miguel: Card players by Cézanne

- Elena: The gleaners by Millet. Compare it with other Millet´s peasants' paintings

- Werselio: The Third of May 1812 by Goya

- Juan: Fight with cudgels by Goya

- Enrique Manzanares: Saturn devouring his son by Goya

- Jesús: The Sea of Ice by Friedrich

- Mónica: Woman with a parasol by Monet

- Enrique Pérez: The raft of the Medusa by Géricault

- Carlos: Van Gogh's self portraits. I think you could do a study of all his self-portraits and how they reflected the different stages in his life

- Isabel: Bathers at Asnières by Seurat. You could relate it with A Sunday afternoon in the Island of La Grande Jatte

- Carmen: The circus by Seurat.

If you don't like your painting, you can choose a different one, but not the same ones of this list. There are very interesting paintings no one has chosen, like Monet's series, Manet's paintings and Signac's Félix Féneon's portrait.

Remember: DEADLINE: 1st MAY.

If you want to change your painting, leave a comment here o tell me as soon as possible. Bye!