Today’s work is by French painter Alfred Roll. This scene depicts a woman--obviously of the wealthy class--disrobing from her dress with the assistance of her servant.
My eye is immediately drawn to the paleness of the woman’s back and arms, creating a focal area wherein our attention to directed to the servant’s serious expression, who is completely focused on the task at hand. With that in mind, the undressing woman, her back toward us and her face obscured, seems to be looking toward an undisclosed area of the room, perhaps pondering whatever episodes transpired during her evening at the ball. I doubt she holds any concern about her servant’s own activities, and that apparent indifference is what registers with me. As the viewer we aren’t allowed a glimpse of the undressing woman’s face, so it would seem only logical that we are meant to identify with the servant as the sympathetic figure in this scene.