size(cm): 60x45
Price:
Sale price$231.00 USD

Description

The country of origin is unknown in this orientalist painting created by Jean-Léon Gérôme. Gérôme depicts a black-haired Caucasian woman being bathed by an African woman who tends to her body. The bathroom has a large, elaborate sink surrounded by porcelain tiles. Also, there are turquoise tiles surrounding the room, which adds elegance to the room.

Looking deeper into this painting, you can see the Arabic script at the top right. This writing symbolizes that the scene of this painting is in the Arab world. Also, when looking at the relationship between the two women, the white woman's face is looking away from the African woman. This relationship plays through an orientalist lens because the white woman holds out her hand as if she has no respect for the woman who washes it; a power struggle is clearly seen. By not looking at her and extending her hand as if she should be pampered, the viewer can assume that the white woman's status is much higher than that of the black woman. Similarly, when looking at the clothes of the African woman, she is wearing a headdress and a cloth around her body, but her clothes fall off.

This could be interpreted as the reason why the white woman is unwilling to look at her, because her nudity is inherently disturbing to white society. Finally, by depicting the nude white woman, Gérôme plays on the desires of French men for women from the Orient.

Although her chest is not revealed, men would have been intrigued by her nudity as it would have reassured their impressions of the Orient as exotic.

The Bath ranks no. 85 on the list of famous paintings 

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