Impressionist painters: they were a motley group, radical for their time, daring, and adventurous. Their angle was to paint what they saw, rather than what they thought they should see, or what people expected them to see.
What does this have to do with books and reading? Well, I’m no art
historian, but I noticed over the years that Impressionist painters have
a bit of an obsession with readers. And not just any readers- women readers.
Why women? I could spout the academic view that women were often
associated with novel reading in the 19th century, or I could spout the
shallow view that Impressionist painters just loved how women in frilly
dresses looked while they were engrossed in a good story. What I will
say is that Impressionist painting and reading are perfect for each
other, for a person who is deep in a good book is not really “there,”
even if you think you see them. They are, in fact, traveling in another
land and another time, and thus they’re slightly out of focus. As a
reading woman myself, I am strongly drawn to these paintings of other
women reading, even if we’re separated by more than a century. As you’ll
also see, women painted many of these scenes, as if they were conjuring
up the times when they were most happy.
And so, without any further ado, I bring you some of the greatest