Monday, August 30, 2010

The Bath

Here is one more painting that I loved from the Birth of Impressionism exhibit. Belgian artist Alfred Stevens painted this portrayal of a woman relaxing in her bath. Surprisingly, this painting created a scandal when it was displayed in 1867, despite the fact that the woman is not even nude.

The pocketwatch in the white soap holder, the white roses, the open book, and the woman's expression all invite speculation as to the meaning of this particular moment. Is the woman an indulgent, romantic dreamer lost in thought? Or a bored, too-pampered borgeoise? Or a mistress pondering her next rendez-vous with her lover? Perhaps it's the ambiguity of the painting that captured my attention.

Either way, it makes me want to steep my body in a hot bath.


  1. I suppose some research might tell us more about her, but I prefer your guessing to actually knowing. I think I'll take a bath tonight.

  2. It's neat too how "un-perfect" this painting is as well. Her elbow juts directly at you, her book looks like it got a bit wet, lots of little details like that that add up to an impression, but nothing concrete:)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!