Peasant hanging out laundry

Essay by mehlongmaCollege, UndergraduateA, September 2006

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Berthe Morisot was a French painter and print maker. She was one of the first female Impressionist painters. She was born on January 14, 1841 and died on March 2, 1895 in Paris. Her was style was developed by the influence of her friend and later brother-in-law, Edouard Manet. Morisot's subjects are usually domestic subjects such as women, children, and scenes of nature. The particular painting I will focus on is called "Peasant Hanging out Laundry" or "Peasant Hanging Out the Washing" It was painted with oil on canvas in 1881 and is 46 x 67 cm. It is now located in the Carlsberg Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark.

There is only one person in the painting. All our attention is drawn to her and her task. From the title of the work we know that this woman is a peasant. We can also tell by her clothing that she is a lower class person.

Her apron is the brightest part of the painting so my attention is drawn there. She is outside with bush and trees all around her. They aren't defined and detailed. There is a clothes line on which she is hanging laundry and another one in the background. The same few colors are used throughout the picture. The pieces of laundry that look like they should be white are grayish with other colors. None of the subjects are just painted with solid, pure color. This is another technique of Impressionism. Impressionists wanted the viewer to mix the colors in their mind. "At close range the subject of a picture is virtually indistinguishable and it looks like the work of an abstract Impressionist concentrating on the evocative texture and color of paint, not on recognizable forms"(Giovanni, 457). The colors make me feel like the life of...