Quote by Margaret Atwood: “(All those paintings of women, in art galleries...”
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Woman Bathing Paintings
Rembrandt, A Woman bathing in a Stream is an exceptional work in its spontaneity and masterful handling of the subject. National Gallery London NG Characterization of this painting by the scientists of the Rembrandt Research Project 3 :. Its authenticity has never been questioned. See also the collection of online and offline resources such as books, articles and websites on Rembrandt van Rijn.
PARIS — A woman undressing to take a bath is at her most vulnerable — alone, half-nude, self-absorbed, unprepared for prying eyes. For centuries, however, women experienced the ordinary act of washing in less than complete solitude. Women of a certain class were rarely alone, even when attending to the most intimate parts of their bodies. Their lives were, in a sense, communal property, especially those of wealthier women who until the midth century were the ones most frequently depicted in artwork, although prostitutes and mistresses were also subject matter. With works from as early as and as recent as the s, the show is as much social history as art history, tracing how long it took for women to possess private space. At the same time, the rituals surrounding bathing have not diminished.
The work is today known through two copies which diverge in important aspects;  one in Antwerp and a more successful but small c panel in Harvard University 's Fogg Museum , which is in poor condition. The attribution of either panel to an original by van Eyck is usually not contested; while it may be doubted whether either copy was completed until one or two generations after his early death c.
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Another of the major themes running through the work of Edgar Degas is that of a woman bathing. Its origins go right back to one of his earliest surviving paintings. Although he abandoned it soon afterwards, and never completed its narrative content, the figure of Queen Nyssia undressed and ready to get into bed could equally well have been bathing, getting out of a bath, or drying herself afterwards. Another recurrent activity which appears in his later work is the combing or brushing of hair, which was the theme of Women Combing Their Hair painted in about , although these three figures are dressed in chemises shifts. In the s, this theme came to dominate many of his works, perhaps to the point of obsession.