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womens presentation in realism and impressionism

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Discuss and comment on the representation of women in Realist and/or Impressionist painting. In both impressionist and realist art, we mainly see women presented as either working and doing chores, for example 'The Gleaners' by Millet and 'Woman hanging up the washing' by Pissarro, or relaxing, often in front of mirrors or bathing, for example 'Lady at her toilette' by Morisot and 'Nude before a mirror' by Sickert. Women impressionist painters, such as Berthe Morisot, especially focused on the painting of women because at the time, women were not expected to be alone in a room with a man other than their husbands, so the subjects they could paint were limited. ...read more.


The women are working doing common tasks that need to be done, they have not been glamorised or made to look particularly beautiful or relaxed. They are wearing common clothes and seem to be focused on what they are doing. Both these paintings, along with many realist and impressionist paintings showing women at work are of the working class, but the painting style does not create a dark, unhappy image of working class chores. 'Woman hanging up the washing' looks bright and sunny and the subjects of 'The Gleaners' do not appear to be tired or worn out, so although the women are not glamorised in these paintings, they are not made to seem sad or tired either, which is what we might expect. ...read more.


Overall, we can see two main ways that Impressionist and Realist artists presented woman, either working class women doing chores and working, or higher class women, sitting in front of mirror or relaxing. Either way, the images are never painting in a dark, unhappy style; the colours used are always bright and calm. The artists always seemed to present women in a positive way. Paintings such as 'The cradle' also show their maternal side. The nude paintings were not done in a sexual way, more of an insight to the intimate life of a woman, so the viewer feels like they are seeing something personal. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adelaide ...read more.

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