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Broken Eggs Essay

The young girl’s body is slumped upon an elevated surface, while her head is tilted to the left at a forty-degree angle. She is draped in a sheer, white blouse and apron, covering a yellow corset and light blue dress. A periwinkle scarf on her head keeps her blonde hair pulled away from her face, revealing her luminescent skin – lit up magnificently by the thin stream of light making its way through the window to her right – and innocent features. The girl’s expression seems to be of pure grief, as she looks down towards the egg basket on the floor; it’s as if she has lost something very dear. This young girl is perhaps saddened at the fact that the egg basket has dropped to the ground and the eggs are now broken. However, the other subject matter in the painting alludes to a larger scale of loss. Immediately above the girl’s left shoulder, a man – appearing about equal in age – stands with his body swaying to his right. His right hip is pointed in the direction of the far left corner of the room, while his head is tilted forty degrees to the right, in the opposite direction of the young girl’s.

One could draw a line straight down the middle of the painting and see that there is symmetry between the young girl’s, and man’s, head. The egg basket is centered in between them, creating a focus on la scène du crime; a sun hat with a girlish ribbon around it lies delicately next to the basket, where countless white eggs lay broken, spewing yellow yolk. As one zeroes in on this fragment of the painting, it is important to take note of its specific mise en scène. In other words, the placing of the small sun hat next to the basket allows the artist to better tell a story of innocence, and imaginably the shattered eggs define the loss of that purity.

It is essential to mention the style and structure of the painting before going any further with the subject matter. The brushstrokes when conveying the foreground of the painting are smooth and seamless. However, on the wall in the background the strokes appear harsh and horizontal, creating a rough texture in contrast with the character’s skin and clothes. The brown color scheme of the background is uniform throughout, in accordance with the light
coming into the very small and dingy room. There is a picnic table behind the young girl and its scale accurately contributes to the probable size of the room. The ceiling is high which suggests that the scene takes place in the servant’s quarters of a wealthy estate.


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