Man at His Bath (1884) by Gustave Caillebotte

Man at His Bath - Gustave Caillebotte - 1884

Artwork Information

TitleMan at His Bath
ArtistGustave Caillebotte
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationMuseum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, MA, US

About Man at His Bath

The artwork “Man at His Bath” by Gustave Caillebotte is an oil on canvas painting from the year 1884. It is displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. This piece is an exemplar of the Impressionist movement and falls within the genres of genre painting and nude painting (nu).

The artwork presents an intimate and unembellished look at a male figure from behind as he prepares for or finishes his bath. The scene is set in an unadorned interior with muted colors, where a wooden floor leads the viewer’s eye towards the central figure, a man who is captured drying himself with a white towel. His posture is casual and unrehearsed, contributing to the candid essence of the painting. A copper bathtub can be observed to the right, which reflects the natural light infiltrating the room and highlights the painter’s ability to work with shades and reflections. To the left, a wooden chair and clothes strewn about indicate the ordinary nature of the setting. Caillebotte’s realistic depiction of the human form and everyday life, subverting the traditional idealization found in academic nudes of this period, is clear evidence of the influence of Impressionism on his work. This painting stands out for treating the male nude with a level of forthrightness and domestic normalcy that was unconventional for its time.

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