Bathtime (Gyōzui)

Kitagawa Utamaro Japanese

Not on view

Utamaro often took his inspiration from the lives of common people, and he treated the theme of mother and child with more poignancy than did most artists. In Woman Washing a Baby in a Tub he depicted a mother performing a daily task that centers directly around her child. The rather large woman hunches over ungracefully as she bathes her son. In one hand the child holds a toy water bucket, which both echoes the activity in the tub and instructs him in the rituals of bathing; with the other hand he grabs his mother's arm in an effort to push her away. To enhance the visual excitement, Utamaro crops the bucket, the woman's leg, and the child's kimono. Prints such as these were the inspiration for the first series of prints made by the Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt.

Bathtime (Gyōzui), Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, ca. 1754–1806), Woodblock print; ink and color on paper, Japan

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