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Home: The Toast

EUROPE, 1500

“Ah, gentleman. I’m glad to see you’ve all managed to arrive safely. I trust you had pleasant journeys.”

Murmurs of assent.

“Let us begin. Europe is at the height of her cultural and political influence; we have the riches of the classical world as well as the novelties of the Age of Discovery to draw upon as we enter a new era of artistic expression. What, then, shall we paint?”

Abashed silence.

“Nothing? Gentlemen, I’m surprised at you. Speak up.”

A small voice from the back of the room.

“What if…what if we draw a lot of pictures of women getting out of the bathtub? From behind?”

Astonished whispersBathtubs, women, balderdash, nonsense, never heard of such a thing, backsides. 

“Let him speak, gentleman.”

“I think…I think it would be interesting. To just paint a lot of women, stepping out of bathtubs, from the back, for the foreseeable future.”

“Could we also draw these women stepping into the bathtub? Or in the act of bathing itself?”

“No. Only immediately after.”

Another voice interjects.

“Could the ladies be painted from another angle? Facing the painter, for example, or three-quarte–”

“Ladies, stepping out of tubs, from behind.”

“I see. And what kind of fully-bathed women shall we paint?”

“Just tall, Dutch-looking women with braided hair. That’s it.”

“That’s it?”

“Well, maybe a few French ladies. But nobody else.”

“Gentlemen? Shall we put it to a vote?”

The motion carries, unanimously.

Edgar Degas, Woman At Her Bath

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Albrecht Dürer, Woman’s Bath

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Large Bathers

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François Boucher, Diana After the Bath

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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Turkish Bath

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Edward Degas, Breakfast After A Bath

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John Reinhard Weguelin, The Bath

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Anders Zorn, Le Tub

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Hermann Pleuer, The Bathing Girls

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Vladimir Alexandrovich Plotnikov, In The Bath House

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Tony Robert-Fleury, Le Bain

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Anders Zorn, Girls from Dalarna in the sauna

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Bather Sitting

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Paul Peel, A Venetian Bather

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Henri Gervex, The Tubgervex

Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Bathers

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André Favory, Bathing Nude

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Edward Degas, The Bath — Woman Supporting Her Back

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Edward Degas, Candaules’s Wife

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Alexandre Jacques Chantron, Pleasures of Summerchantronbath

 

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