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Lady at Her Toilet

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

71.1Europe, Netherlands, Lady at Her Toilet, c. 1650–60, oil on canvas. The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund, 71.1

This highly staged scene shows a woman recently roused from her slumber, primping before her mirror with the help of a maid. But there’s more happening here. To the right of her rumpled bed is a small room, a closestool, or toilet. And in the picture’s foreground is a chamber pot, painted in gleaming detail. Though common in real life, of course, neither object typically appeared in paintings of the time, much less with such prominence. These references to daily bodily functions are the artist’s attempt to undercut feminine vanity—a popular satirical theme of the day.

Read more about this work here.

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