Browse reactions of other viewers below. The opinions presented here may have been edited and do not reflect the opinions of the Getty.
Posted on 6/23/07 by Carla Chiapella, Bethlehem PA
There is a prominent lady across the room, with the white dress and the gloves, who is next to an attractive man with a top hat. I have always thought the bored barmaid was daydreaming that the handsome gentleman is speaking to her and she is the object of his attention. The chandelier behind the larger man is also fuzzier than it should be in a mirror and the dark colors around him lend a dreamlike quality. The Inuit show things from perspectives, such as a boat directly from the top of a mast looking down, but one also one sees the side of the boat, which is an impossible but interesting perspective. The impossible is possible in a painting and was used as an intentional tool by the artist to make the viewer think and imagine.
Posted on 06/18/07 by Nelson Vega-Amaez, Rincon, Puerto Rico
Last week me and my family were in front of this painting. I was strongly impressed. The building, everything, perspire art.
Thank you very much.
Posted on 06/16/07 by H. Greenwald, Long Beach
I do not agree with the point-of-view conclusion for the painting. The line of the bar is parallel to the horizon indicating that the viewer is directly in front of the barmaid who is looking directly at him (the viewer). If the point of view is to the right, the line of the bar would angle up to the left and not be parallel to the horizon.
Furthermore, if the mirror is parallel to the bar, the reflection would have to be behind the barmaid. The reflection to the right is only plausible if the mirror behind the bar was at an angle to the bar which is not believable. Conclusion: Figure placements were simply the artistic choice of the artist since the true relationship would not result in an all-subjects-in-view painting.
Posted on 06/16/07 by David Glynn, Los Angeles
I was pleased to see this work in person in Los Angeles as I had drawn it and discussed it as part of my "Chalk Talk" videos on painters.
Taken in context with his other works, it is clear that Manet was interested in his subjects as people as well as launching points for his contributions to the dialog of art.
Posted on 06/11/07 by Stephen Brown, LA
While I try to make sense of the painting I see many aspects both religious and psychoanalytical. I cannot seem to find any analysis which coincides with mine. I see the scene as both the front being the actual physical woman, flat and empty, while the reflection the mirror of her unconscious. Meanwhile, I see the scene as the symbolic scene at Calvary as she stands in front of a cross, the trapeze woman being crucified to her right, the roses as symbolic of the Virgin and the oranges of the resurrection. The bottles are the "dead soldiers" or Romans, and those behind her the sinners for whom she sacrifices her body. Her look, forgive them they know not what they do. As Manet suffers his final agonizing death, does he paint his with his mind's eye as insanity takes hold?
Posted on 06/07/07 by Janis Galef, Oceanside
The painting is interesting because it is complex and confounding. It requires much study and in the end, it is still a mystery. Upon close inspection of very many copies of this painting, the man in the upper left quadrant who wears a Spanish hat appears above what looks like a large, open book, or two empty seats. Or, is a waiter carrying a large tray of food and drink, as one scholar has opined?
After many viewings, the conclusion can be "Ah ha!" at times and "I don't know." The easily identifiable areas of the painting become obscure and contradictory and the ambiguous areas become more clear upon more observation. The painting goes in and out of "focus" in that sense, which is entertaining.
Posted on 06/05/07 by Rocko Sade, Los Angeles, CA
Definitely a piece of art that most of the time is under-seen or unconsidered as a strong focal point of Manet's and the entire Impressionist's band.
The Parisian painter could show in the horizon the complexity and coolness (perhaps, cruelness) of Modernity. A bar, intimacy, gloves, glamour, perdition, loneliness, lady, emptiness, gentiles, impressions, blur, impressions, trapezes, servers, maids, beer, chandeliers, mirror, realities, reflections, artist and spectators. Merci Manet.
Posted on 06/01/07 by Carey L., Venice, L.A.
I have seen this painting a million times, but never noticed the two small green feet in the top left corner of this painting! They're hanging there like cartoon feet. I wonder why Manet made them so distinct and crisp? They seem to be a foil to the blurry crowd beneath.
Posted on 05/31/07 by Elizabeth Stevens, Los Angeles
I thought the display was brilliant—that dark, cavernous room with the slightly curved mirror set a meditative, almost ominous tone that went with the melancholy mood of the barmaid in the picture.
Instead of the painting representing a mirror's reflection, though, isn't it possible that the two figures at the far right represent a different space in time of the same evening? Or two different mental states of the main figure?