Offering the Panal to the Bullfighter
Mary Stevenson Cassatt
Oil on canvas
The American artist Mary Cassatt spent much of her adult life living and painting in Europe. This picture, for example, was painted during a seven-month stay in Seville, Spain, in 1872. The subject of the painting is a possibly romantic encounter between a bullfighter and a young woman. The woman offers the bullfighter a glass of water into which he dips a panal (Spanish for honeycomb or sponge sugar) to make a refreshing drink. Like her friend and contemporary, Edouard Manet, Cassatt was interested in the work of the seventeenth-century Spanish painter Diego Velazquez, and like both Manet and Velazquez, she has made use of a very free painterly technique, alternating broad areas of color with small touches of the brush to accentuate highlights and other details.
This work is currently traveling abroad as part of the Clark's international tour.