The viewer is compelled to walk around it to see the different aspects of it and perceive its changing nature. The viewer is caught in the middle between David and Goliath and, as such, interprets a fraction of time of energy and feels the momentum of passing time. The observer of Absinthe, however, is sucked into a pit of stagnation and apathy of depression where the woman and companions signify the doldrums of death. David frowns and bites his lower lips in agony of intense concentration. LAbsinthe is characterized by pensiveness, melancholy, and, rather than the social interaction of the Davidic scene (characteristic of a religious period), Absinthe shows the isolation and depression characteristic of the modern 19th century (and still of today).
Bernini had a tough youth having to battle through destitution and homelessness, until he was finally, and by chance, recognized as artist. Then, in the fashion of his time, he was patronized by a wealthy individual and success followed swiftly until he died at 37 after having been imprisoned various times, experienced various duels, fled various countries, and suffered the chaos and havoc of the anarchy and lawlessness of the early Renaissance period.
The social-historical-political atmosphere of the Rome of his time was utterly different to that of the 19th century France of a Degas. Religion suffused the early Renaissance period of Bernini and Rome was and is the center of Catholicism (at that time the dominant religion in the Western world). Naturally, Bernini, to be accepted, was expected to execute religious themes in an acceptable manner; and he largely did.
Degas, on the other hand, was one of a cadre of Impressionist artists who lived in materialistic and hedonist France at the turn of the modern period when religion was all but rejected, and reality — sometimes in its most sordid terms — was becoming the artistic theme of the moment.
Herbert, RL “Brandy and Absinthe” in Impressionism: Art, lesioture, and.