Hi, need to submit a 2500 words paper on the topic A analysis on American Impressionists painter Mary Cassatt’s life, work, technique and media style. The purpose of this paper is to explore four pieces of Cassatt’s work in detail to fully understand the techniques and media styles used within these paintings. To explore further meaning from Cassatt’s work, a brief overview of her life and the culture in which she was producing art will be given. This exploration will add contextual depth to the analysis of Cassatt’s work, as an artist cannot be separated from their environment when exploring their work. Life of Mary Cassatt Mary Cassatt was born in what is now Pittsburg in 1844 into a wealthy family (McKown 89). Her father was a stockbroker and her mother also came from a banking family, meaning that the family did not have economic problems and allowed Cassatt to explore artistic options that may not have been open to many at the time. As a result of her mother’s wealth, Cassatt had a strong and well-educated female role model in her life, again allowing her to develop free from many of the constraints on women during the 19th century (Streissguth 5). Although living in the United States officially, Cassatt’s family believed that travel was extremely important and thus Cassatt had exposure to many of the European capital cities (such as Rome, Paris and Berlin) during her early life (Streissguth 8), which may have shaped a lot of her work. It was in Paris that Cassatt became exposed to many of the Old Masters, and became familiar with the works of Degas and Pissarro, both of whom would later play important roles in her artistic development (Streissguth 9). Later in life, Cassatt attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, determined to make art into a career (Frank 86). Although her family was slightly disapproving and most of the women at the time did not pursue careers, Cassatt studied here from 1861 to 1865 (Frank 86). After this period of study, Cassatt moved to Paris (with female chaperones). Although not allowed to study art officially (as a woman), Cassatt did have access to some of the masters who lived and taught in the city and was allowed to be privately educated in this sense (McKown 91). In 1868 the piece “A Mandolin Player” was accepted for display by the Paris Salon, an extremely important honor for artists at the time (McKown 5). However, the French art scene was radically changing and much of Cassatt’s work was still painted in a traditional style, leaving this early honor not much replicated (McKown 5). She moved back to America, again not having much success with her artwork until attracting the attention of the Archbishop of Pittsburgh, who commissioned paintings from Italy and thus sending Cassatt back to Europe (Frank 86). It was after this return to Europe that Cassatt really began to enjoy some financial success from her paintings. In the first seven years of this return, Cassatt always had a piece of artwork for display at the Paris Salon, a great mark of success (Frank 86). She also began to travel to Spain, finding that many of the female artists who were on display in the art world were often so only because of their connections and flirtations (Streissguth 32).
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