How has bathing been depicted in art over the years?

Let’s have a look at ten famous works of art in which bath time has looked on, or even played the leading role.

marat
1. Death of Marat (1793)Jacques-Louis David
We start the list with the murder of an icon of the French Revolution, painted by an icon of neo-classicism, Jacques-Louis David. The French Revolution figure Jean-Paul Marat had a skin condition which made him have to write a large part of his work soothed by bathwater in the bathtub, a great ally, moreover, of creativity, where he was finally murdered.

2. The Tub (1886)Edgar Degas
We continue to frenchify ourselves with the second painting, one of the nudes painted by Degas. This uncomfortable-looking tin tub has very little in common with the bathtubs we have over a century later, but the artwork reveals a beauty in the composition and a play with dimensions that means we cannot leave it out of our list.

3. The Bath of Psyche (1890) – Frederic Leightom
It would be odd if an artistic movement that sought to recover the classical, and an aristocracy in Victorian Britain that sought to take Roman times as an art reference, symbol of empire and greatness, did not produce art in which bathing played a leading role. This beautiful nude from the end of the 19th century brings to mind those historical hot springs that remain idealised in our minds.

picasso
4. The Blue Room (1901)Pablo Picasso
Picasso’s “blue period”, so-called for the predominance of this colour, is full of sadness and the expression of human misery. This is a piece from the beginning of this period, portraying the bathtub at the epicentre of melancholy.

5. Nude Seated in a Bathtub (1910)Marcel Duchamp
The irreverent Duchamp, who at the beginning of the 20th century took a urinal and presented it as a piece of art, or anti-art, shocking the public and critics alike, was one of the most outstanding artistic references. Not only did he lay bare the woman in his painting, but also the whole world and its concept of artistic output.

6. Women Bathing (1929) – Tamara de Lempicka
The seventh painting in our list is by Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka, and shows seven voluptuous women in a bathroom. Taking a bath can be a highly social activity. And you, who would you take a bath with?

Antonio López
7. Woman in Bath (1963)Roy Lichtenstein
Pop-art, with its connections to the style used in comics and the advertising world, has given us plenty of scenes of everyday life. A pleasant bath and an easy smile directed at the spectator, painted by New York artist Lichtenstein, convey to us sensations of calm, comfort and approval.

8. Man in Shower in Beverly Hills (1964) David Hockney
The 60s were a time that saw many doors opening, particularly in the cultural scene. Amongst the generation of pop-artists, these changes were notorious and broke certain moulds. This was the case with famous artist David Hockney, painter of this work, closely linked with other paintings of his showing Californian swimming pools. But it has to be said, a shower with the kind of curtain shown in the painting would probably mean a wet carpet in real life, which just goes to show the usefulness of a good shower screen.

9. Woman in the Bathtub (1968)Antonio López
And continuing with modern art which focuses on the details and gives up the magical, we must include Spanish artist Antonio López’ fascination with small, private spaces. Considered hyper-realist, we cannot catalogue this painting simply as photo-realism with nothing more to it because it expresses many sensations, the ones the artist must have felt while producing the painting – from the coldness of the wall to the warmth of the feet.

Botero
10. Bath (1989)Fernando Botero
The last work in our list is this striking, corpulent woman by Fernando Botero who, at the end of the millennium and in the middle of the post-modern whirl of global change, speaks to us in his own language full of generously-proportioned, friendly, weighty people.

Now is the time to inspire the works of the new millennium with innovative-design bathroom screens. Step into our Virtual Decorator and discover how easy it is to make your bathroom a thing of art.