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The Art of JAMA
August 18, 2015

Les buveurs d'absinthe (The Absinthe Drinkers): Jean-François Raffaëlli

JAMA. 2015;314(7):652-653. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.11923

La Belle Époque was an era of peace and prosperity in France that lasted from the defeat of the Paris Commune in 1871 to the onset of the First World War. The arts and sciences flourished during this golden age: Edgar Degas painted dancers at the Paris Opéra Ballet, Émile Zola wrote novels about nature and nurture, and Louis Pasteur developed a “germ theory” of infectious diseases. The economic success of La Belle Époque was dependent in large part on the contributions of working class communities such as the municipality of Asnières-sur-Seine, several kilometers from the heart of Paris, where Jean-François Raffaëlli (1850-1924) painted Les buveurs d'absinthe (The Absinthe Drinkers) in 1881.