For centuries women experienced the ordinary act of washing in less than complete solitude. Women of a certain class were rarely alone, even when attending to the most intimate parts of their bodies. Their lives were, in a sense, communal property, especially those of wealthier women who until the mid-19th century were the ones most frequently depicted in artwork, although prostitutes and mistresses were also subject matter.
The evolution of how women experienced bathing and grooming — and how artists portrayed those moments — is the subject of a thought-provoking exhibition at the Musée Marmottan Monet.
Thanks to Joy St James for making me aware of this exhibition!