Country Maid Art Analysis Research Paper

Pages: 3 (1093 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

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Pissarro often painted working-class women, and some of his other well-known works include The Maidservant, Washerwoman, and A Young Woman Washing Dishes. Pissarro painted the darker side of rural life, unlike his fellow Impressionists who enjoyed showing the beauty of unspoiled nature. "The key theme of domestic labor is linked, in turn, to Pissarro's views on agricultural labor and the market economy" and in domestic servitude in The Little Country Maid.[footnoteRef:1] [1: "Groundbreaking perspective on Camille Pissarro opens at the Legion of Honor this fall," Art Daily, December 12, 2011, http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=51257&int_modo=1]

Pissarro was the lone Impressionist who made domestic workers his central focus, just as much as Degas focused on ballet dancers and Monet upon flowers. Pissarro was described as a political radical during his era, and this is manifest in his depiction of the maid and in his other work. "Scholars have tended to treat Pissarro's politics and his art in two separate categories, often refusing to see the most basic connections between them. This is largely because Pissarro was less a political activist than a social and economic philosopher.[footnoteRef:2]" However, although his work has a clear ideological perspective, it is also characterized by humanism and respect for the subject. The maid is not objectified to make a political point. [2: Ibid.]Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Paper on Country Maid Art Analysis: The Assignment

Pissarro's work recalls that of Vermeer's servant girls, although instead of Vermeer's glowing and illuminated women, Pissarro's woman is in the shadows. She is not beautiful, although she is not obviously 'lower class' other than her clothing. She is an ordinary woman, an 'every woman' with whom the gazer is encouraged to identify. In terms of its physical qualities, the painting is oil on canvas. It is a relatively small painting, only 2'1 by 1'19 in width and diameter.[footnoteRef:3] The shadowy nature of the painting is relatively distinct, and stands in contrast to the brightness characteristic of Pissarro's Impressionist contemporaries Monet and Renoir. The brushstrokes are typical of the Impressionist period: "relatively small, thin, yet visible brush strokes; open composition; emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities; common, ordinary subject matter; the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience; and unusual visual angles.[footnoteRef:4]" [3: "The Little Country Maid," Juggle References, December 12, 2011, http://www.juggle.com/the-little-country-maid] [4: Ibid.]

In his book Pissarro's People, the art historian and scholar Richard R. Brettell states that Pissarro was an anarchist who used representations of the material world to convey his ideas. This can be seen in the quiet yet lifelike maid. Although the motion of the painting does not arrest the viewer, the maid's containment and sense of a forcibly concealed inner life is poignant and haunting. The work is testimony to the fact that Impressionism can be 'political' in nature, and not merely a subjective rendering of an artist's momentary state of consciousness.

Bibliography

Brettell, Richard. Pissarro's People. Prestel, 2011.

"Groundbreaking perspective on Camille Pissarro opens at the Legion of Honor this fall."

Art Daily. December 12, 2011, http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=51257&int_modo=1

"The Little Country Maid." Juggle References. December 12, 2011.

http://www.juggle.com/the-little-country-maid [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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