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Théodule Ribot

The Morning Wash (The Children's Home)

Artist

Théodule Ribot
Saint-Nicolas-d'Attez, France, 1823 – Colombes, France, 1891

Title

The Morning Wash (The Children's Home)

Date

About 1863

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

73.2 x 61 cm

Credits

Gift of Lord Strathcona and family, inv. 1927.381

Collection

Western Art

Ribot’s principal contribution to French Realism, like Courbet’s and Bonvin’s, resides in the role he played in the revival of earliery still-life and genre painting, which served as a source for his own work. Ribot incorporated stylistic elements from seventeenth-century Spanish painting and from Rembrandt, and worked directly on the canvas without preliminary studies or oil sketches. Both these traits can be found in the early Manet: a similar concern for tonal values informs their work. This painting, executed in subtle tones of grey and black, is highlighted by a burnished copper pan. The sorry little group, dressed in drab uniforms and supervised by the daunting schoolmarm looming in her dark doorway, is sufficiently gloomy to have suggested the title under which the painting was known in Montreal: The Children’s Home. The painting actually represents an asile, or state-run school for children from poor families.

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