Manet's Testament – University of Copenhagen

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Manet's Testament

Guest lecture by Professor Emeritus Thierry de Duve, Université de Lille, France.

During most of his career, Manet complained that he was misunderstood. When, in 1881-82, already gravely ill, he painted Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère, not only did he produce his last ambitious Salon painting, he also conceived it as his pictorial testament. He used strict one-point perspective to plant clues, which he hoped would didactically explain the radically new mode of address to the viewer that had been his great contribution to modern painting. But, as unwilling to compromise as ever, he made the viewer's task even more difficult than in his previous works. With its apparently misplaced reflection in the mirror, Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère is Manet's most enigmatic canvas. Yet the clues are there, waiting to be deciphered …