Saturday, June 14, 2014

Taking Apart Images 13 - Women's Bath, 1496, by Albrecht Dürer

It's been a long time in coming, but after I noticed the hairbrush in my last post, Albrecht Altdorfer's Susanna in Her Bath, I realized there was another representation of a hairbrush like it in Albrecht Dürer's The Women's Bath, so I determined I may as well take this image apart and analyze the finer details, but I realized by the time I was done I had more questions than conclusions.

The Women's Bath, 1496, Albrecht Dürer

I will freely admit there are a few items in this drawing which I have no idea how to identify.  For instance, what exactly is the item the woman at the back right is using?

And what type of jug is this next item?  It's very sizeable and wouldn't likely have been easy to move if it were full of water, so how was it used exactly?

And last but not least is this bucket.  It's short, intentionally.  What this the only use for it, a bath?  Or was it used in other areas of life as well?


Originally when I viewed this image, I dismissed this headdress as the typical head-covering for the period, but upon closer inspection, it appears to be a knit or woven piece of material similar to what was worn by one of the men in the Men's Bath also by Dürer, although this one is obviously covering a woman's hair which is likely still in braids.  I could be entirely mistaken and this is the normal headdress, but I am not completely certain at this point.

Hairbrush - Rounded

If I hadn't seen this being used in Susanna in Her Bath by Albrecht Altdorfer, I don't know that I would have been able to identify it as a hairbrush.  It reminds me of male facial brushes or shaving brushes.  How were these made?  In a similar manner?  Many of the modern shaving brushes are made of boar bristles.

Hairbrush - Elongated

This reminds me of a scrubbing brush.

Luffa or Loofah

I was somewhat surprised to see a period luffa or loofah in this image, but come to find out, luffa have been used as sponges for a very long time.  How long, I am uncertain, but I'd never seen this in this image prior to now.  It's so strange the things you find in a drawing when you really start to look at it, especially something as modern as this.


What was the purpose of the item which resembles a colander?  Would it have been used similar to a shower especially in this context?  This deserves further investigation.

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