A-Level: 19th-century painting + sculpture of female figures

videos + essays

The conservator’s eye: <em>Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory</em>
The conservator’s eye: Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory

Cézanne left graphite lines visible and ground open on this canvas, granting us access to his working process.

Édouard Manet, <em>A Bar at the Folies-Bergère</em>
Édouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergère

Manet turns the tables—or in this case, the bar—on how we view painting.

Berthe Morisot, <em>The Cradle</em>
Berthe Morisot, The Cradle

Lacking access to the cafes and bars male Impressionists painted, Morisot mastered intimate domestic interiors.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, <em>Beata Beatrix</em>
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Beata Beatrix

In this tragic painting, Rossetti draws a comparison between himself and the medieval poet who shared his name.

Paul Cézanne, <em>Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses)</em>
Paul Cézanne, Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses)

The subject matter of this painting couldn’t be more traditional, but its formal characteristics make it modern.

Édouard Manet, <em>Olympia</em>
Édouard Manet, Olympia

Manet decided to replace the idealized female nude with the image of a known prostitute. It didn’t go so well.

Mary Cassatt, <em>In the Loge</em>
Mary Cassatt, In the Loge

The subject looks through opera glasses, but she herself is the object of another man’s gaze—not to mention ours.

Auguste Renoir, <em>The Large Bathers</em>
Auguste Renoir, The Large Bathers

One of the leaders of Impressionism turns his back on the movement and attempts to reclaim the classical nude.

Edgar Degas, <em>Visit to a Museum</em>
Edgar Degas, Visit to a Museum

Mary Cassatt, an artist and close friend Degas, is the subject of this painting about the act of seeing.

Édouard Manet, <em>Plum Brandy</em>
Édouard Manet, Plum Brandy

The subject of this painting is breaking almost as many taboos as the artist who painted it.

Mary Cassatt, <em>The Child’s Bath</em>
Mary Cassatt, The Child’s Bath

Cassatt’s unusual angle in this intimate moment between mother and daughter shows the pair as we might see them.

Édouard Manet, <em>In the Conservatory</em>
Édouard Manet, In the Conservatory

The greenery surrounding this couple is lush and exotic, but it’s clear that there’s trouble in paradise.