A old women, her gaze unfocused, clutches a rosary – a string of beads used in prayer – tightly in her hands. According to the writer Joachim Gasquet, the sitter was a former nun who had escaped from a convent, wandering aimlessly until Cézanne took her on as a servant.
Gasquet found this painting in 1896 at Cézanne’s family house near Aix-en-Provence, lying on the floor of the artist’s studio with a pipe dripping on it. The lower left-hand corner is marked by splashed water or steam.
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