Cezanne gifted us famous paintings such as The Large Bathers, The Bathers, The Bather and Women Bathing, to name just four. He would revisit this theme many other times as well, in line with a number of members of the Impressionist movement plus others who stayed on the fringes of this group. Cezanne was fond of nature but also portraiture and this type of content allowed him to experiment with both together. The drawing found here is important in allowing us to understand more about how he planned some of these significant paintings, particularly as the sketch is accompanied by a series of musings about the work itself. Aside from the artistic interest, bathing was also an important pastime during the late 19th century, when so many of the things that we enjoy today were simply not available then. It also, therefore, gives us an insight into the everyday lives of those fortuante enough to have free time at the weekends.
This drawing is one of the few within the sketchbook that contained notes alongside the artwork. Most are much simpler sketches that sit by themselves, though in one case there was a complex landscape panorama which spreads across two adjoined pages. Cezanne liked to travel around with his sketchbooks under his arm, depicting scenes that struck him as memorable, normally without any real plan about what he wanted to draw. In some cases he would head to the Louvre to study sculptures from their impressive collection, but normally his work would be of single figures, cut off from around the shoulder area. Those portraits would be closer up, but in this example he is further back, looking at two figures together in a full length format. He seems to be most interested in their muscle structure, accentuating the lines around those parts of the body.
Besides Cezanne's own drawings and paintings of bathers, some of the other notable contributions on this theme would come from related artists with whom he would likely have exhibited at various points in his career. The Large Bathers remains one of Renoir's finest works, for example, and who cannot forget the iconic Le Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe by Edouard Manet. It was essentially a topic that all members of the group would tackle at some point in their careers, made all the more likely because of their tendancy to work alongside each other from time to time. There was also a huge connection with nature and also our everyday lives within this movement and so these depictions of this pastime made so much sense.