Discussion on "Les Soeurs
Bonvin creates a pleasant
scene with "les soeurs" as the main focus of his painting.
The church in France (and many places around the world) was a place
people associated with charity. Bonvin paints a colorful picture
of the less unfortunate, (not the lowest class of poverty) most
likely the working class as indicated by their attire. The two main
characters are the nun giving something to the lady in red.
The Players: As you can see the people
waiting in line are not in rags. They are not dressed like a bourgeoisie
either, they seem to represent the working class in France at the
time.The children interacting in the bottom right hand corner are
fully dressed. The clothes the people are dressed in are not torn,
they fully cover the people. The women waiting in line to the left
of the two main characters seem to waiting in an orderly fashion,
some are chatting and some are simply waiting to receive any form
of charity from the nuns. The women looking in the basket (bottom
left) seems to be satisfied with a full basket of goods received.
However, this picture is suppose to represent a positive theme.
A theme indicating the charity of the church to the lower classes.
The peaceful setting on the street and the people patiently waiting
in line show an orderly event.
The Analysis: Even though one gets
the sense that the main theme of the picture is positive, there
exists some underlying themes and ideas. The old man in the bottom
right hand corner is poorly dressed in dark clothing, he does not
fit in with the rest of the line of people waiting to receive charity.
(Dark clothing seems to be a theme of the poor class in many paintings,
see Daumier). This aligns with
the many stereotypes of the poor. The church may have given out
charity, but they might be neglecting the people who really need
it. Bonvin puts the nun on top of a few steps from the lady. Something
that is indicated, yet not clearly seen. The nun is raised like
a Christ-figure above the common people of France handing out the
charity of the church. Although the people and nuns are bright in
color, the background colors are dismal and dark, perhaps indicating
the streets where the destitute come from are also the same way.