Berthe Morisot often painted domestic scenes and In the Dining Room from 1875 is no different – the serving girl looks out at us as she mixes food in the bowl. The look of surprise on her face would seem to refer to the perceived lowliness of her social status, surprise at the documentation of her existence in art.
She is glorified by some of Morisot’s best painting – the shifting brightness of the light falling through the rear window and the seeming liquidity of the floor on which the girl and the dog stand. This interaction of light, liquid surface and paint give us an uncertain sense of reality and perhaps also of possibility for advancement for women.
Berthe Morisot’s In The Dining Room is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.