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Young Curators of Women in Art

Intimate Impression by Vanessa Igho


The sitter is said to be the artist sister, named Edma Morisot, who later got married and became Madame Pontillon in 1869. Berthe Morisot being one of a few women artist to paint portraits shows the connection between her and the sitter. Her choices of colours are very dull and neutral, brightening the picture with the purple bouquet and the black necklace. Her raised eyebrows and large eyes directed at us make us feel close to her, this is contrast to the formality of her clothes and her pose.

Personally I say the reason Berthe could paint this portrait so intimately is only because of the fact that she is also a woman herself. A man can not show a woman’s true feelings as well as a woman can. Berthe Morisot proved that women artists are as able as male artists. She was also part of a group of Impressionist painters who tried to capture the immediate impression of a subject by using loose strokes of paint and working quickly. Morisot uses similar techniques in this painting to capture the sense of intimacy.

Berthe only ever painted her family members, children and friends because it was unseemly for an unmarried woman such as Morisot to paint portraits of a man to whom, she is not related. She wrote in a letter:

"Decidedly I am too nervous to make anyone else sit for me."

The way woman artist in those days were treated made people like berthe Morisot very doubt full of there own abilities. This painting was in the first impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874 showing berthe Morisot as able as all the other male Impressionist artists.

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