A portrait of an unusual person in full growth is an atypical work for Mane, performed in an unrealistic realistic manner, unique in its own way. Two artists, Mane and Marselen Debutin, met once in the cafe “New Athens”. They are bound by true friendship. Marselen engraved the portrait of Manet using the dry needle technique, and Manet wrote his friend, perpetuating his somewhat strange appearance.
In the picture of Manet, we see a tall man dressed in a gray, long, in some places noticeably worn coat. Black felt hat casually covered his black, magnificent, curly hair, face framed by a somewhat unkempt beard. But all this – only the scenery, irrelevant details of the appearance, indicating only the low material income of a free artist.
The main thing in the portrait, as it should be, is a dark face and black, sad eyes, looking tired from under heavy eyelids. A true aristocrat, a man of high spiritual status, cultured and educated, is visible under the external negligence. Manet emphasizes this unexpectedly snow-white handkerchief around the artist’s neck. Another bright, eye-catching accent is hands. But a large, white dog in bright light against a rather gloomy and dark background obviously carries an additional semantic load that only the author understands.
Marcelain Debutin lived in Florence for some time, having inherited a huge castle, was hospitable and generous. He was fond of poetry, composed poetic dramas, with pleasure and professionally made magnificent copies of paintings by famous artists. Somehow imperceptible to himself, he went bankrupt, came to Paris, took over the former plumber’s workshop, settled in the dreadful, unlivable conditions of a dirty hut for workers.
Loading himself, like a pack animal, worked a lot, but for pennies. He lived like a beggar. At this time, and met two artists.