The Bather, or The Diver Gustave Caillebotte Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Gustave Caillebotte enjoyed depicting everyday life in the local areas around where he lived and this painting from 1877 of a diving bather would have been produced close to the family mansion.

The artist painted for joy, and personal development. He wanted to challenge himself and capture scenes of life around him. Financially secure from a young age, he did not have to concern himself with conforming his style to the art market in order to make a living. Caillebotte was a keen boater and would have been particularly fond of the quiet rivers close to his home. He painted locals enjoying both their leisure time as well as their time at work. He also studied the very same river by itself, under a variety of different conditions in a similar way to how Claude Monet experimented with his depictions of Haystacks and Water Lilies.

In this painting the artist captures a young man preparing to dive into the river from a specially designed diving board. He wears the traditional style of swimming outfit whilst a female friend looks on in anticipation. She is dressed in a robe, suggesting that she had been swimming herself a little earlier. The area in which they are stood appears to have been cleared for leisure activities, whilst further down the river there is more of a manicured garden feel. Most likely, they are at the foot of a garden of a large country home.