Saturday, January 19, 2008


Linda has an interesting post about it. (Yes, it is possible for drudgery to be interesting.) I have found that throwing a party every once in a while is a great inspiration for getting the house in order. However, I should regularly scrub, clean, and polish anyway, as a matter of godliness. But there is a reason why there are many works of art depicting women sewing, weaving, and even cooking, but few paintings of anyone mopping the floor.
Yes, there are many paintings of women sewing, caring for children, cooking, milking cows, gathering eggs, shopping, and even doing the laundry--but not cleaning.

Is this an activity too trivial for art? The fact is that during the period in which such paintings would have been done--say from Chardin onwards through the 1920s, most of this work, even in a middle-class household, was done by maids.

For instance, Carl Larsson who created many paintings celebrating the domestic activities of the women in his home--including one of his wife shelling peas--does not seem to have painted them housecleaning. However, he does paint this one (above) of a maid resting after a thorough sweeping of a room. I have also found two illustrations of women cleaning in a book called The Medieval Woman: Illuminated Book of Days.


Anonymous said...

Apparently artists like to paint people at work only if the scenery is pretty.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, art is supposed to be uplifting....