Still Life with Glass of Absinthe and a Carafe Vincent van Gogh Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Still Life with Glass of Absinthe and a Carafe was painted by Vincent Van Gogh in a café. It was painted between 1886 and 1887. In the painting, the bottle of Absinthe sits on the table with a glass next to it.

The bottle and glass have a green-yellow liquid lighter that reflects the sunlight from the window and is in massive contrast to the background, which is brown in colour. This is indicative of Vincent van Gogh’s gradual transformation from Dutch painting styles to impressionism, which was the popular form of art in Paris at the time. Van Gogh painted the café table with a highly thinned paint. He used thin brushes to bring out its finest details. This kind of paining and technique is known as Peinture an I’essence, and it brings out the results that look more like a watercolour.

In the painting, you can see that the glass holds absinthe, which is a popular aperitif. When the painting was made, absinthe had an alcoholic content of between 60% and 70% and was considered very strong. It was usually mixed with water. Van Gogh used to drink a lot, which might have been the source of inspiration for the wonderful painting. It should be noted that excessive drinking had a very bad impact on his health. It was said that he ended up suffering from hallucinations, stomach and nervous problems, and convulsions, all of which are indicative of absinthe poisoning. This is why he stopped drinking abruptly. Absinthe was not just a popular drink for artists at the time- it was also a favourite painting object since it had a unique colour.

The Still Life with Glass of Absinthe and a Carafe painting by Vincent Van Gogh is more of a recap of what life used to be like during that time. The painting, though done in the impressionism period, is given a fine touch of beauty using oil and primitive decorations. Vincent van Gogh still receives accolades to date, due to his outstanding painting skills. From the painting, you can see that the bottle is a half full of absinthe, while the glass standing still beside it is full of the same. Still life paintings by Vincent van Gogh (Paris) for the subject of multiple drawings, paintings and sketches that were done between 1886 and 1887, just after he relocated from the Netherlands to Montmartre in Paris. While living in Paris, Vincent did a lot of transformation to the subjects, colours, and techniques, which he utilized to create still paintings.