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Children at their Morning Toilet

110 cm x 136 cm
Inventory number: 
Museum of Fine Arts Ghent

Children at their Morning Toilet shows a tableau in the ancestral home of James Ensor. Originally there was a water bowl at the feet of the left-hand figure, which the artist later painted over. Voided of this realistic detail, the work takes on more power as a symbolic creation of atmosphere. This was what the artist was after, because he saw this work as a “study of light” in the first place. Ensor viewed this painting as a milestone in his oeuvre. It forms the capstone of his earlier domestic tableaux and illustrates his growing importance for the light and the fantastic. The presentation of youthful nudity is an exception in the artist’s work. They point to later interpretations of the same theme with the Symbolists and Expressionists.