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AlcoholScience, Policy and Public Health$
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Peter Boyle, Paolo Boffetta, Albert B. Lowenfels, Harry Burns, Otis Brawley, Witold Zatonski, and Jürgen Rehm

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199655786

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655786.001.0001

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Cultural aspects: representations of alcohol use in visual art

Cultural aspects: representations of alcohol use in visual art

(p.24) Chapter 3 Cultural aspects: representations of alcohol use in visual art

James Harris

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how alcohol use is represented in visual art. Representations of alcohol use and abuse have long been the subject of works of art ranging from Diego Velázquez’s painting of Bacchus offering the gift of wine to mankind as a deliverance from sorrow through to Franz Hals’ depiction of the merry drinker and Peder Kroyer’s artists’ party toast. All of these paintings present the positive effects of alcohol use. Conversely, Vincent van Gogh depicts the solitary and lonely absinthe drinker and, more tragically, William Hogarth illustrates the ravages that alcohol abuse brought to London in Gin Lane. Other artists, such as Maurice Utrillo and Jackson Pollack, were alcoholics themselves; Utrillo traded his drawings and paintings for drink.

Keywords:   alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse, visual representations, paintings, Diego Velázquez, Franz Hals, Vincent van Gogh, William Hogarth, Maurice Utrillo, Jackson Pollack

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