In the midst of MUNDANITY

This gallery aims to capture the beauty of a women doing tasks that are usually considered mundane or every-day. In doing so, it is meant to capture the power and meaning in the every day; women in both traditional and untraditional roles, and a perspective of strength through the women in those roles.

Woman Washing her Feet, Yasui Sotaro, 1913/1913, From the collection of: The Museum of Modern Art, Gunma
This work depicts a woman, clothed in undergarments, sitting in a chair, washing her feet in a tub of water. Bathing is an activity we do as a chore and not for fun, but the composition of the woman and the style choices made by the artist bring interest and beauty to an otherwise mundane task. There is movement in the way she holds one leg, washing her foot. Her clothes fall off one shoulder.
A Woman and a Girl Driving, Mary Stevenson Cassatt, American, 1844 - 1926, 1881, From the collection of: Philadelphia Museum of Art
This piece depicts a woman driving a car with a young girl seated next to her, and a man seated in the rear, facing backwards. The subject itself is rather mundane, but the woman driving is rather a-typical as it was more often the men that would drive in the era this work was created. The richness of the color and tone give the woman a great deal of luster, adding to her powerful demeanor. The flow of the work is disrupted my the juxtaposition of the male and female, further highlighting the woman's unusual role.
The Waitress, Wiliam McGregor Paxton, 1923, From the collection of: National Academy of Design
This work is of a young woman working as a waitress. She holds a tray of food and wears an apron. Following the theme of women in every day situations, this image shows a woman in typical job for a woman at the time. Although women served as waitresses, it was more typical for them not to work. This image uses warm tones to add an emotional appeal to her face. She looks focused, and there is motion depicted in her form.
Woman After Bath, RENOIR, Pierre-Auguste, From the collection of: Tokyo Fuji Art Museum
This piece depicts a woman in the nude, sitting down following a bath. This is possibly the more powerful examples of mundanity being beautiful, as it uses the classic technique of form paining, of something as simple as drying off, to capture a moment in time. Renoir uses the background and tone to make the activity in the foreground more exciting. In the simplicity of the singular form, there is great detail given to the movement of the woman drying herself off.
Ruby Loftus screwing a Breech-ring, Knight, Laura (Dame) (RA), 1943, From the collection of: Imperial War Museums
This is an image of a woman using industrial machinery to manufacture and fabricate metal parts for weapons. Painted during WWII, this is a classic example of a mundane task; however, this is a job that was exclusively for men when not at War. While the subject of the work is one woman, there are many other women portrayed in the foreground. These women invoke a sense of power simply by breaking the gender role.
Woman Drawing Water at the Cistern, Jean-Siméon Chardin, 1733 - 1739, From the collection of: The Toledo Museum of Art
This is an image on a woman retrieving water in a bucket. It can be assumed from the context that she is most likely going to use the water to clean, as there is another figure in the background, mopping or sweeping. The artist used color to depict that the woman in the foreground may have some tie to nobility, as the blue in her apron was saved for the wealthy. There is also a child present; a simple scene of a moment in a woman's day.
The Blind Girl, Sir John Everett Millais, 1854 - 1856, From the collection of: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
This work is of a woman and a girl sitting together with a bright double rainbow in the sky behind them. The colors in this piece are bright. The rainbow in the background draws as much attention as the girls in the foreground, and the symmetry of composition shows a relationship between the two. One of the girls is blind, although it is not entirely clear which is blind. The woman in the front has her eyes closed, and the other is looking into the distance at the rainbow. What was once two girls simply sitting is transformed into a much more complex piece by the artist' use of contract and tone.
Hang Clothes, Michal Petrek, 1956, From the collection of: Galéria umelcov Spiša
Peter captured a mother hanging laundry to dry while her children play in the background. There is a distinct contrast between the color of the woman and the laundry and the tone of the shaded are in which the children play. Laundry is another task that everyone does; but the power of a mother to take care of her children while caring for other parts of their lives is characterized by the artists' composition.
The Railway, Edouard Manet, 1873, From the collection of: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
This image depicts a woman sitting with an open book and a puppy, and a girl facing a wrought iron fence. Interestingly, the artist chose to paint the subject looking directly at the artist, in the style of a portrait. The woman and the child are sitting together in a typical way, with the muted colors suggesting fair weather and normal conditions.
Young Girl Carrying a Pumpkin, Fausto Zonaro, 1889, From the collection of: Sakıp Sabancı Museum
Lastly, this work shows a single woman, holding a large orange pumpkin on her right hip. She holds her skirt up as she walks with one hand, and the pumpkin in the other. She seems to pose, as if pausing from a typical chore task to be painted by the artist. This draws interest to a simple form, of a woman in plain clothes in a forest like surrounding. The vivd greens of the nature around the subject gives the image vibrancy.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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