The Mandolin Player Mary Cassatt 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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The Mandolin Player by Mary Cassatt is arguably one of the finest pieces of art she made during her incursion into the world of art in 18th Century France.

This particular piece of work is one of her Realism style portraits that vividly depict s detailed, accurate, and unembellished pieces of contemporary life or nature and which truly rejects some form of imaginative idealism in much favor of very close observation of the outward appearance. The Mandolin player was created in the year 1872 in Paris France with a very unique style of Realism made using oil on canvas.

This piece is actually her first work that was accepted for inclusion in the Paris salon which was the official art exhibition of the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Her art making it here was a huge milestone for Cassatt because between 1748 and 1890, the Paris salon was considered to be arguably the greatest annual or biennial art event of the western world.

The art depicts a young girl playing the mandolin a stringed instrument almost similar to a guitar, and both from the lute family of instruments usually plucked with a plectrum. Her choice of this subject matter in this piece predates her exposure to her later impressionism style and brings out more of a somber romanticism style of art.

She handles the paint really well with very clear and broad brush strokes throughout the entire portrait. Contrasted by its rich colors, she produced some abstract patterns on the edges bringing out a dark brown background.

Interestingly enough many observers noticed her patriotism in this portrait where the girl seems to be wearing white, red, and blue which represent the national colors of the United States. The art captured a more heavy feel of a rather traditional style of painting which most argue is the reason why she later denounced this work.

Mary Cassatt distinguished herself in a rather male-dominated genre of art, taking pride in her adventurous works in both character and artistic mediums. Much of her artistic inspiration was drawn from the greats such as Edgar Degas and Claude Monet. Since her inception into the hall of fame, she continues to inspire many female artists around the world who draw their inspiration from her works which were centered on the domestic life of women and children.

Related Works

Some of her famous works in galleries around the world include:

  • Children Playing on the Beach (1884)
  • The Bath (1890)
  • Nurse reading to a little girl (1895)
  • Miss Mary Ellison (1880)
  • The Pink Sash (1898)
  • Lady at The Tea Table (1883-1885)
  • Woman in a Red a Bodice and Her Child (1896)