Landscape with Washerwomen

This landscape scene has an expansive blue sky in the upper half of the composition contrasted with the dark countryside, painted in hues of dark green and brown, in the lower portion. On the horizon, in between these two areas, is a mountain range with sharp pointed peaks. The forms of the bright white clouds mimick the foliage of the trees. There are figures in the foreground area, although the rugged countryside shows no sign of habitation. On the right, two women are shown bending over, washing clothes in a small stream. There is a man sitting next to a laundry basket in the far left corner. A fourth figure, seen from the back only, is placed in the center area of the foreground.
Alessandro Magnasco
c. 1711-1720
Women washing clothes in a landscape setting was a common subject matter in landscape painting of this period. The reason for this choice of subject matter is unknown, but this painting shows Magnasco's landscape style of incorporating small figures, doing their daily work, in an expansive view of nature. In the foreground, we see two women washing clothes in a small stream. On the far left, a man is sitting next to a basket filled with clothing. There is one othe figure seen from the back.
Museum Purchase
Sunday, December 16, 2018