The Bather – 1905 Marble
Albert Toft - V&Museum
At first sight, this is an apparently unassuming sculpture of a beautiful woman bathing. However, when taking a closer look at her face and posture, what I find most appealing is the supremely delicate combination of physical beauty and emotional vulnerability that is so incredibly revealing and reminds me of one scene from the Cameron Crowe movie “Almost Famous” that I watched in ages past.
In this scene, actor Philip Seymour Hoffman turns to his protégé and says that beautiful people are essentially spineless because they always get what they want and are usually valued for all the wrong, superficial reasons. I actually believe this to be one of the tragedies that afflict beautiful women. Despite their outward appearance, they secretly long to be valued for who they are because they realize deep down that every summer must one day fade away.
The problem is that they generally attract the worst kind of men, those who are usually interested only in using their bodies and discarding them at the first sign of autumn, if not before. This has led me to observe that many beautiful women strive to appear outwardly strong, independent and satisfied, despite feeling inwardly vulnerable as well, constantly wondering if her loved one appreciates her for who she really is and not for transient physical attributes that will fade with age. It is this delicate combination of physical beauty and emotional vulnerability that has been captured so well in the marble sculpture above. This being the reason why I like it so much.