Discussion on "Laveuse au
The characters and setting: As
the child stumbles up the stairs the mother reaches out carrying
laundry in one hand and caring for the child in the other. The main
focus is the mother and child, however they are the darkest part
of Daumier's painting. The light source in the picture is the background.
Perhaps conveying the idea that whatever is on the other side of
the river or the other side of the city offers more. The other side
of the city is light and flourishing while this mother and child
"stumble" as they try to get by on living in poverty.
The mother's body type is a bit larger and her clothes hang on her.
Her sleeves are rolled up, illustrating that she has used her hands
to do some type of work. There is no sense of urgency in this painting,
its a slow monotone feeling of everyday life for the poor.
The Analysis and Stereotype: Many
stereotypes of the poor in France in the 19th century was the assumption
that they were useless and could not fend for themselves. However,
this picture creates two ironic ideas, one being that the women
and her child are indeed struggling but they are surviving. The
women has perhaps just finished a load of laundry in the Seine and
her child and herself are surviving the harsh world of the poor.
The second ides, is illustrated in the way Daumier created this
re-life painting. He seems to have noticed the stereotype of the
poor and working class yet, he still create them in dark colors
where their faces blend in with a blank expression. The dark colors
almost create the idea that the mother and child are dirty, their
skin color is not the pure white color that the Bourgeoisie have
(see "Souers de Charite"
for more about dark coloring and the poor). They [the mother and
child] live on the streets of Paris in the dirt and filth. Daumier
almost makes the statement in this picture that the poor are often
thought of as nameless people who walk the streets of Paris. This
painting is like many of Daumier's other paintings of the lower
class. The faces almost blank with no identity, forcing the viewer
to look at the environment around the "main focus". Daumier
does an excellent job of this in "Laveuse au Quai d'Anjou".
Another Daumier painting and analysis of The