L’absinthe (1876) by Edgar Degas

L'absinthe - Edgar Degas - 1876

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Artwork Information

ArtistEdgar Degas
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions92 x 68 cm
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMusée d'Orsay, Paris
Location Created France

About L'absinthe

The artwork “L’absinthe” was created by the artist Edgar Degas in 1876. It is an oil on canvas painting characterized by the Impressionism movement and falls under the genre painting category. The dimensions of this piece are 92 by 68 centimeters. It was created in France and is currently housed in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The artwork features two figures seated at a café table. The central figure is a woman gazing listlessly to the right, her expression one of disengagement or melancholy. She is dressed in what appears to be a light-colored dress with a lace collar and a large hat adorned with a bow, typical attire of the late 19th century. In her immediate vicinity is a glass of what we can presume is absinthe, a drink that was quite popular and controversial during the period. To her right sits a man who seems to be in a similarly detached state, with his focus directed away from the woman and the viewer, adding to the sense of isolation and disconnection. He wears a dark suit and hat, suggesting everyday attire for men of that time.

The composition of the artwork shows a juxtaposition between the two figures and the surrounding environment, which is rendered in loose brushstrokes characteristic of the Impressionist style. The muted colors and the interplay of light and shadow within the painting accentuate the solitary mood. There is a notable absence of engagement or joy in the scene, capturing a fleeting, yet poignant moment of urban life in 19th-century Paris. It can be considered a social commentary on the effects of modernity, capturing the alienation and ennui of contemporary urban existence.

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