Our visual powers

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Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère. 1881–1882. Oil on canvas, 37¾ × 51¼ inches. Courtauld Institute Galleries, London.

Typical of impressionist paintings, this one has for its subject matter ordinary everyday events. Viewers may also surmise a narrative embedded in the painting, given the character in the mirror, not to mention the feet of the trapeze artist in the upper left.

Edouard Manet was considered the leader of the impressionist group. His striking painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (Figure 4-14) is more three-dimensional than Monet’s, but the emphasis on color and light is similar. In this painting the impressionists’ preference for everyday scenes with ordinary people and objects is present. Details abound in this painting—some mysterious, such as the legs of the trapeze artist in the upper left corner.

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