A full-length portrait of an unusual person is a work atypical for Mane, executed in a realistic manner unusual for him, unique in its kind. Two artists, Manet and Marselen Debutin met once at the New Athens Cafe. They were connected by true friendship. Marseille engraved a portrait of Manet using the technique of dry needles, and Manet painted his friend, immortalizing his slightly strange appearance.
In Manet’s painting, we see a tall man dressed in a gray, long, sometimes noticeably worn coat. A black felt hat casually covered his black, magnificent, curly hair, his face is framed by a somewhat groomed beard. But all this is just scenery, insignificant details of the external appearance, testifying only to the low material income of a free artist.
The main thing in the portrait, as expected, is a swarthy face and black, sad eyes, looking tiredly from under heavy eyelids. Outside sloppy one can see a true aristocrat, a man of high spiritual status, cultured and educated. Manet emphasizes this unexpectedly with a snow-white shawl on 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, understandable only to the author.
Marcelen Debutin lived for some time in Florence, inheriting a huge castle, was hospitable and generous. He was fond of poetry, composed poetic dramas, with pleasure and professionally made magnificent copies from paintings by famous artists. Somehow, inconspicuous for himself, he went broke, came to Paris, occupied the former plumber's workshop, settled in the terrible, uninhabitable conditions of a dirty hut for workers.
Loading himself as a pack animal, he worked a lot, but for a pittance. He lived like a beggar. At this time, two artists met.
Fedor Vasiliev Artist