Marisol ( 1930 - 2016)
The Bathers
Painted wood panel, graphite, plaster cast, and sculpted wood
© 2023 Estate of Marisol / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Description of The Bathers

NARRATOR: The sculpture you are in front of is entitled The Bathers and was made of acrylic paint and graphite on wood with plaster casts by the artist Marisol in 1930. It is approximately 84 inches tall by 70 1/4 inches long by 63 inches wide and is displayed both on the wall and low white base made of wood. This piece is a blend of both painting and sculpture and depicts three women relaxing in the sun.

On the wall before us, reaching from the floor to about a foot above the top of our heads, a sky blue wall of six vertical wooden planks forms the backdrop of the piece. In the lower right corner, we see a woman's face, torso, and half of her legs painted directly onto the blue backdrop. Her hair is black and her skin is deeply tanned. Her posture is relaxed, with her arms behind her head. Her three-dimensional wooden legs extend out from the portion of her body painted onto the backdrop. The leg to our right is bent at the knee; a pale plaster-casted foot rests flat on the floor. The leg to our left is bent so that the ankle rests on the knee of the leg to our right. The foot resting on the knee is topped with a pale plaster toe pointing up towards the sky. It is unclear whether or not this figure is nude because a sky blue section of color matching that of the background covers her torso.

Moving to the middle of the base, slightly to the left of the first woman, a second woman, made entirely of assembled wood shapes and positioned fully on the floor, reclines on her back. She is also relaxed with her hands behind her head. Her knees are bent with both pale plaster-casted feet flat on the floor. She is wearing a red bikini, and her skin is deeply tanned. Her square face highlighted with pale plaster features points up toward the sky.

On the floor in front of the second figure, a third woman stretches out on her stomach horizontally to us. Her wooden legs are bent at the knees with pale plaster feet in the air. Her unrealistic head is a wooden cube with different facial profiles sketched in graphite onto several facets of the cube. The fingertips of her plaster-casted hands rest below her chin. A bright yellow hat sits on top of her head. Her skin is also deeply tanned, and she is completely nude. The artist has highlighted her nudity by stacking a pale plaster cast over her backside to exaggerate her curvaceous buttocks. The rounded shape and pale color of her buttocks contrast sharply with the blocky shapes and tanned color comprising the majority of the rest of the piece.

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