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Anders Zorn has come to be associated with paintings of nude young women bathing. In his early paintings on this theme, such as After the Bath from 1895, the women seem unaware of the spectator. They are not posing, but are simply captured on canvas while undressing or concentrating on getting out of the water. This spontaneous character is naturally false, and the nudity is a vital element in the painting. Nevertheless, these paintings are not primarily erotic; instead, the emphasis is on the effect of light. The nude body is hazy, to serve as a sculptural shape in the play of light and shadow in the overall composition.

Details

  • Title: After the Bath
  • Creator: Anders Zorn
  • Date Created: 1895
  • Title in Swedish: Efter badet
  • Signature: Zorn 95
  • Physical Dimensions: w365 x h535 cm (without frame)
  • Artist Information: Anders Zorn was, along with Carl Larsson, the most successful Swedish painter at the end of the 19th century. The illegitimate son of the German brewer Johann Leonard Zorn and Grudd Anna Andersdotter, a bottlewasher in his brewery, he grew up in the home of his mother’s parents in the area around Mora in Dalarna, the province that during the 19th century came to be regarded as the birthplace of Swedishness. He soon displayed a talent for drawing and in 1875 he was enrolled at the age of 15 in the Academy of Art in Stockholm. Zorn began his career as a watercolourist and his artistic breakthrough came in 1880 with the watercolour I sorg (In sorrow). After being warned about the irregularity of his attendance at the Academy, Zorn decided to leave in the following year without completing his studies. Zorn made his first journey abroad in August 1881, travelling to Paris and Spain via London. Zorn was to become the most international Swedish painter and this first journey was to be followed by many more that were to take him, for instance, to Italy, Turkey, Greece, North Africa, Russia and the USA. Zorn was to find the greatest artistic stimulus during the almost eight years he spent in Paris, where he attained artistic success and was rewarded with medals at the Paris Salon and the World Exhibition in 1889. He developed a virtuoso technique invoking impressionistic breadth without forsaking the significance of shape and volume. He belonged to the radical Swedish group that sought reform of the Stockholm Acacemy of Art, and in Paris he became acquainted with advocates of progressive art like Antonin Proust, the patron of the Impressionists, and the opera singer and collector Jean Baptiste Faure. What characterises Zorn’s art is both its strong international orientation and its firm roots in the culture of his native country and native countryside. He combined international portrait commissions with his endeavours to rescue Sweden’s folk culture by collecting buildings and objects in and around his magnificent home in Mora. Zorn’s oeuvre can be divided into three main phases: the first watercolour period up until 1888, the French period 1888-1896, when he had a studio in Paris but spent the summers in Sweden, and his Swedish period 1896-1920, after his return to Sweden when he mainly painted portraits and motifs from folk culture. Alongside his painting, Zorn was an original and productive graphic artist and also created a number of sculptural works.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Nationalmuseum, Nationalmuseum
  • Medium: Olja på duk

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