Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), French master of 20th Century art, painted this intimate, jewel-like image of his life-long muse and wife, Marthe, in her iconic claw-footed bathtub. Marthe, a neurotic, had a mania for cleanliness and retreated for hours everyday to her bath; art historians also say she may have suffered from a medical condition, for which the treatment was water therapy. Bonnard, ever the artist, repeatedly painted this bath scene, capturing this prosaic setting, and transforming it into a rich and exotic world with glowing tiles, smooth ceramic surfaces, light and pattern. Although Marthe was 62 years old at the time of Bonnard’s painting, she is portrayed as a young woman. Marthe, who appears in almost 400 of Bonnard’s 500 paintings, never seems to age. Hmmm, could it be the water?
Masterpieces of Pierre Bonnard. Use this link if unable to view the video.