Though I’d heard of Mary Cassatt a few times in relation to the Impressionists, I hadn’t yet dug deeper into what she’d done.
It’s an incredible shame that I hadn’t done so thus far, as I’m absolutely spellbound by the sensitivity in which she treated her subjects.
Where Degas and his contemporaries usually portrayed women (usually prostitutes) in various states of naked and demystified intimacy (in unflattering positions such as while washing their hair in a wooden tub), Mary Cassatt shows us that we can still convey intimacy with our clothes on.
It is obvious to me that she considered women to be “Subjects” and not “Objects”, unlike her masculine counterparts.
Her pastels are subtle and of singular beauty. Expressive and light.
Here above we see the play of values that artists work so hard to capture; the balancing of yellows with their complementary purples to keep the image fresh and full of life.
Mary Cassatt’s body of work includes a great deal of loving family scenes such as the one just below:
I cannot even begin to described how enamored I am with the above, the play of colors that mix together and form the mother’s face and her vulnerable neck, the indefinite shapes that somehow pull together in my mind’s eye into an idyll scene of domesticity.
With skill and dexterity, Mary Cassatt has sketched and made flesh the feeling mothers have for their children. That gentleness of feeling that can sometimes be all consuming.
I think my favorite one is this one:
Though mothers love their children, there are certain moments of the day where despair and exhaustion are hard to shake. Like the morning when you know you’ve a long day in store.
Thank you, Mary Cassatt for the gift of your sensitivity. I only wish that I’d spent a little more time getting to know you when I was younger. At the same time, would I have been as receptive to your charms if we’d met before I’d had children?
Ok. No regrets then.