In this 1871 painting by Seville artist José Jiménez Aranda, a group of women are working on their laundry.

The folksy characters of the washerwomen still conform to the Romantic trend of reporting on the lives of ordinary hard-working citizens, but the narrative now demands more insight into the psychology of the characters and the irony of the situation.

** Report by Karla Ingleton Darocas (

These new aspects were the influence of his time spent with the Catalan painter Mariano Fortuny.

Here we see that the subjects are treated with an academic eye. The hard outer lines and harsh colours have disappeared and been replaced by perfect transitions, softer tones and greater attention to textual details.

Two washerwomen are engaged in an argument in an old courtyard, while another woman seems to be trying to restrain the most aggressive of them. The other women , and a man who is half hidden by the wall , look on.

A dog and a child play together on the ground. Clothes, black pots, plates and jugs litter the scene in the courtyard.

The irony here is the contrast between the women's activity, which implies cleanliness, and the mess in the courtyard. The artist also contrasts their lower class status with a theatrical attitude, to great effect.

Again, José Jiménez Aranda takes us on a questioning journey, forcing us to reflect on the story as we enjoy his painting techniques, lighting, charming figures and attention to detail. 

It is such a "WONDERFUL" painting!

Resource Books written by
Karla Ingleton Darocas 
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