Currently on View in H212
The Bathers is an overtly erotic fête galante—a depiction of the amorous open-air entertainments of the upper class. The voyeuristic overtones of the painting are accentuated by the detail of a man being led away from the bath. The source of the motif can be found in the mythological tale of the hunter Acteon, who is punished for stumbling upon the naked goddess Diana at her bath.
A pupil of fellow French artist Watteau, Jean-Baptiste Pater closely followed the style and subject matter of his teacher, trading on his reputation as a painter of fêtes galantes.
Provenance research is on-going at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Please contact Annette Schlagenhauff, Curator of Special Projects, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.