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Samuel S. Carr, By the Seaside, Oil on canvas, Godel & Co. Fine Art.  Click to inquire.

In this ode to the last days of summer, this post captures the visual history of the bikini (and its more modest prototypes).

Renaissance artworks replete with bathing scenes of Bathsheba and Susanne hint at the uneasiness of depicting contemporary women in the same settings. Replacing real women with mythological or biblical counterparts when referencing the nude, the lack of overt bathing scenes closely parallels art history with societal modesty.


Henri Lebasque, L’Heure de Bain (Bathing Time), Watercolor, Guarisco Gallery.  Click to  inquire.


1920's Bikini Fashion


Most importantly, it seems to take a while before artists depict women enjoying swimming for the pleasure of it.  FADA’s inventory represents a pictorial ease into the depiction of bikinis.  Samuel S. Carr’s By the Seaside portrays a trio of fully garbed women-in the outfits of our Victorian dreams-with background dwellers rolling up their dresses before a dip into the water.

In  L’Heure de Bain (Above(, Henri Lebasque, a French Post-Impressionist painter, showcases the swimming trunks of the early 1900’s, apart of the burgeoning fashion industry.


William Berra, The Dive, Oil on linen, Nedra Matteucci Galleries. Click to inquire.


Bikinis, a badge of summertime, with its expanding geometric cuts and colors a staple of a woman’s wardrobe, has re-entered popular culture as an indicator of feminine liberty. As its depiction transfers from oil canvases to spreads in fashion magazines, they have become more relevant to the style choices of their wearers. 


Johannes Wessmark, Floating, Acrylic and oil on canvas, Arcadia Contemporary.  Click to inquire.