Today’s selection is by French painter Cyprien Boulet. In this scene a woman stands at a mirror while holding her mask for that evening’s ball. She seems very satisfied with her appearance. I love her expression, which could be described as mischievous. Perhaps she likes the notion to hiding her identity, which might enable her to explore that evening’s ball unnoticed, or maybe she’s just assumed at how silly that all sounds.
The positioning of the mask ads intrigue to this scene. In the mirror reflection we see the front of the mask, which appears completely black, while from behind the woman’s back we see the inside, which is a crisp white—one of the brightest elements in the painting. This provides a simple but effective relationship between mystery and innocence.