The National Gallery


Manet was one of the pioneers of Impressionism. In this video filmed for the National Gallery’s ‘Courtaul Impressionists’ exhibition, curator Anne Robbins talks us through two pivotal works bought by Courtauld, including Manet’s last great masterpiece, ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’ (1882).

The viewer standing in the gallery is looking at a painting showing a waitress behind a theatre bar. Behind her is a large mirror, which reflects the space in which the scene is set. Curiously, where the viewer is standing we see the reflection of a man talking to the waitress, and as a result we become involved in the painting.

‘Music in the Tuilerie’ (1862) is an early work, which Courtauld saw in the National Gallery in 1917. The painting features his friends and acquaintances - including author Charles Baudelaire - as well as a self-portrait. Manet plays with the relationship between the viewer of the painting and the audience in the artwork, as the viewer is standing where the musicians would be performing in the scene depicted in the painting.

Given this play on who is viewing who and what constitutes the nature of an audience, we were keen to find an interesting way to film perspectives of the paintings, in particular ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’. Not a tool often used by corporate video production companies, we hired in a 3 axis motion control slider. By using a one-metre track and carefully programming the camera's movement and change in axis along the slider we captured some iconic shots of the Manet masterpiece.

At NextShoot we have a great deal of experience in filming video content for the arts sector - for art galleries, arts organisations, art philanthropists - and of working with contemporary artists such as Olafur Eliasson, Christo, Pae White, Michael Craig Martin, David Tremlett, Cristina Iglesias, Tai Shani, Mark Wallinger, Elmgreen and Dragset, Ron Arad and Sonia Boyce.

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