The Sewing Lesson (aka The Artist's Daughter, Julie, with Her Nanny) Berthe Morisot Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Morisot loved to capture intimate scenes between women and young girls, and in this example we find the artist's daughter being taught how to sew by her nanny. The artist looks on and observes whilst capturing the moment on canvas.

Whilst overcoming the difficulties of being a female artist at that time, Morisot did have the great advantage of coming from a relatively wealthy family. She would enjoy connections to other notable families, particularly within the art industry, and this would certainly help her to get opportunities which other women would never receive. Here she is working whilst a nanny cares for her young daughter, Julie. This young girl would actually model many times for her mother, who married the brother of another famous painter, Edouard Manet. Eugene would aslo feature in many of her portraits, including several based in the Isle of Wight, where they spent their honeymoon. She was famed for capturing the lives of those around her, and sometimes also produced self portraits.

Within this painting from 1884 we find the nanny dressed in a blue outfit which reaches up to her neck. Her appearance is smart and conservative, as well as being practical for her occupation which would have included many different tasks. Julie looks on with great concentration, eager to learn this new skill. At that time, even the women from middle class background would have been expected to know about hobbies such as sewing, with domestic chores handled in an unbalanced manner in those days. She seems happy to learn, with bright sunshine draped across her head. A large window sits behind the two figures, bringing a positive mood to this touching moment. There are perhaps some houses in the distance which can be viewed in the background, but most detail is delivered in an expressive manner, making some items hard to identify.

The Sewing Lesson (aka The Artist's Daughter, Julie, with Her Nanny) combines the artistic style of the Impressionists with the unique content brought in by several female members of the group. To see the relationships of women and children together was relatively new, with mothers obviously featuring most often. Whilst the madonna and child scenes date back to pre-Renaissance times, real human connections had not been covered particularly often, largely because these types of content would not have been known to male artists as much as other choices. Therefore, the arrival of artists such as Morisot and Cassatt was crucial in moving things forward and allowing the art world to become a little more diverse in a number of ways.