Kitchen panel

General division of labour

Public/Domestic dichotomies

This kitchen scene alludes to the roles performed by men and women in an 18th-century lower-class family. The clear opposition between these tasks demonstrates that women were excluded from intellectual and leisure activities, as well as those associated with the outside world. The traditional situation of women kept them shut away in the home, limiting their functions to the domestic sphere and their social life to religious events. Enlightenment reformism brought positive change for women, although this was restricted to the upper classes. Even so, during this period, women played an important role in the country’s economy, doing agricultural work and working in the textile industry, craft workshops, shops and domestic service. The tasks performed by the men in this panel present the image of provider of food and support for the family.