This painting happened spontaneously. Just once he met this man and, learning about his distress, offered him to pose for the canvas. And he did not refuse. He came to the appointed place and spent hours in a given position, the money still rolled into his pocket.
And Manet tried and believed that it was this painting that would bring him success.
Although, what could bring success here? Yes, Manet departed from his previous historical works and, as it were, returned to life, to reality. But why did he like this person so much that he immediately decided to sketch it? Poverty, alcohol addiction, or something else? Most likely, the latter.
Manet portrayed this man as a drinker or a drinker, but who did not lose his human dignity. This is exactly what the artist wanted to show. And when the canvas was finished, Manet first of all decided to show the work to his teacher Couture, but he spoke rather negatively about the canvas and generally soon did not allow this canvas to be exhibited (his voice was decisive in the jury). But Manet did not give up, he stubbornly believed that this canvas should be the most powerful of all his works. Nobody really saw this picture then, but who saw it - they were surprised, insulted or just silently passed by. But Mane’s quarrel with his teacher did not go unnoticed. It so happens that two people who understood each other from halftones suddenly became enemies and, moreover, forever. Mane, after such fierce criticism, no longer communicated with his mentor. And he always succeeded.
But what about the canvas? It is not lost, not perished. It is currently quite expensive, but then it was this work that greatly changed the creative path of Eduard Manet. In any case, for a long time the artist was looking for his own path, a new path in his work.
Penitent Mary Magdalene Titian