Girl Fishing

7:00 AM

John Singer Sargent, Girl Fishing, 1913
By SAI GONDI

Upon first seeing the painting, my eyes fixed upon this unknown women clothed in an egg white dress gently submerging her net under the shallow waves. Then, slowly my eyes began to retract from the focus of the painting to the surroundings. I began to notice the finer things about the works. The water is beautifully done, though I do not feel overwhelmed with movement. The painting is essentially frozen at this exact moment. .It strongly incorporates Impressionism styles, as can be expected from Sargent. Girl Fishing was completed in 1913, towards the later end of his life. In her book Strapless, Deborah Davis brings forth the interest Sargent had for nature and the countryside. Though he was known for his portraiture, landscape paintings made up a noticeable portion of his works. Girl Fishing consists of an isolated portion of San Vigilio, a gorgeous location in Italy, done with an array of blues, yellows, browns, and whites for the woman and foreground.

Also, an interesting issue I found researching this painting was my inability to identify the subject matter. Referenced in Strapless, Sargent's subjects in his works are typically known. After scrolling through numerous sites and informational articles, the woman still remained unknown. Could her white clothes represent purity? That would make sense, however why would she be partaking in such a laborious, messy activity? That makes me wonder if he could be raising questions about femininity. Woman during the time of this work held restricted lives. So, the woman in this painting fishing, which could be seen as a male-oriented pasttime, could be hinting towards a greater message of gender normalities. That would provide explanation to the unknown woman. This figure could represent women as a whole.


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