Friday, 26 June 2009

Tricoteuse – William Bougereau (1879)


‘Tricoteuse’ is the French word for someone, especially a woman, who knits.  Someone such as the old women who famously sat and knitted while above them Madame Guillotine carried out her daily shaving  of heads – a ceremony called by some enthusiasts “the red mass.”

So is this just a young girl knitting?  Or, since nothing in art is unintentional, is something more intended?  What clues are there in the painting?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it's difficult to say with PC monitor resolution and a lack of late nineteeth century french history knowledge.
A young girl, with her back to the wall...A nation with no choice? A people of determination? Purpose? She appears to be rising up out of the darkness and knitting a particularly fine cloth for knitting needles. Her eyes are sunken and dark with smudges as if she has been crying. The place she stands in within view of a stairwell and view of the mountains behind. A future path to enlightenment or transcendence of some sort?

26 Jun 2009, 06:34:00  
Blogger Lucy said...

A stocking?

26 Jun 2009, 09:47:00  
Blogger Paul said...

Look at her dress, the architecture and the landscape: this is not France; perhaps she is a pied-noir, but more likely an arab. I doubt it has any further meaning. These studies of exotic people are quite common in the Academic tradition.

26 Jun 2009, 12:17:00  
Anonymous Lance said...

Prompted by this post, I had a bit of a read up on William Bougereau and enjoyed the chronological series of images that Wikipedia has of his work.

The model for this appears in a LOT of his work, in fact viewing it chronologically you watch her aging slightly.

Looks like he had a thing about knitting too

26 Jun 2009, 13:40:00  

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