The reading woman has been a popular subject for painters through the ages. She is, in herself, an expression of important, unspoken cultural ideas. She is ensconced in comfortable surroundings; she is at leisure. And that she is using her leisure to read indicates that she is educated—no small feat in centuries past. She turns to books for entertainment, insight, and revelation. The reading woman is a confirmation and a celebration of quiet comfort and hard-earned social stability.
Women in this notecard assortment also share their love of reading with children, creating another generation of readers. Just as the reading woman sets free her imagination and becomes absorbed in the written words before her, so can we briefly enter the world depicted in each painting and take part in its narrative. Within these intimate portrayals lies the opportunity for enlightenment and the seductive retreat from the concerns of everyday life.
These four artworks are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Contains 5 each of the following images:
Albert Bartholomé (French, 1848–1928), The Artist’s Wife Reading, 1883
Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926), Nurse Reading to a Little Girl, 1895
James Jebusa Shannon (American, 1862–1923), Jungle Tales (Contes de la Jungle), 1895
Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848–1933), Louise Tiffany, Reading, 1888
Twenty assorted 5 x 7 in. blank notecards (5 each of 4 designs) with envelopes in a decorative box
Printed on recycled paper