Woman before a Mirror

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

About the work

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The Industrial Revolution in Europe brought about immense social and economic change. Women entered the workforce at low wages and in unsafe working conditions. Many turned to sex work in some form to support themselves. The French artist, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, portrayed these women with a fierce level of honesty. He depicted the unidealized, real women of brothels engaged in their everyday lives. Woman before a Mirror captures a private moment of reflection and speculation. Although the viewer has access to the woman's nude backside, her reflection is muddied. The woman's perception of herself remains private.

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