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Bathers have been covered in European art by a large number of famous artists, across a variety of different movements. Edvard Munch here depicts a scene with several bathing men on a picturesque beach.
The artist put this piece together in 1907 and is relatively large, at over two metres tall and wide. There are a large number of figures within the scene, both in the foreground and background, but it is specifically the three or four men nearest us that first focus our attention. There are some interesting techniques used within this painting, including pathworked strokes which diagonally cut across each other in a fairly rough, approximate manner. That approach is used on the sea and beach area, but Munch is generally more precise in how he details the men standing nearest to us. The colour scheme is also contrasting between areas of blues and greens against the warmer yellows and orange tones. The overall atmosphere delivered within Men Bathing is one of happiness and fun, with good friends sharing their time together without any restrictions or concerns in their minds.
Prior to around the 19th century it may not have been acceptable to feature figures in this way within art, even though they would have already been behaving like this in real life. The bright painting can now be found in the collection of the Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki, Finland. They possess one of the finest collections of Finnish art which may not be as well known as others but has contributed some impressive contributors over the past few centuries. Besides some of these local artists, there are also some highlights such as The Road Bridge at L'Estaque by Paul Cézanne, Portrait of the Artist Léopold Survage by Amedeo Modigliani and even Street in Auvers-sur-Oise by Vincent Van Gogh. The venue itself is a fine example of classical architecture and is an ideal location to host such a prestigious collection of paintings.
Famous Bathing Paintings from the 19th and 20th Century
Victorian society allowed many to start to enjoy leisure time for the very first time. The options available for this were relatively limited compared to the modern era, and all of our various uses of technology. As such, nature would play a more important role and generations of that era were certainly better connected to it than most of us are today. Bathing was something that could be enjoyed whilst on holiday and there would not have been many public swimming pools back then. It would be a social engagement, perhaps with friends or other members of your family and was an opportunity for people to let their hair down, which was a rare thing within such a formal, regimented society as it was in Europe back then. Find below some of the other famous paintings of bathers that other great artists have contributed, with most appearing in the mid to late 19th century.