The misery of emigrants and beggars was Eugène Laermans favourite subject. His other rural depictions also usually exude a sombre atmosphere. In his vision, even a light-hearted scene with bathers acquires a serious, almost ritualistic character. With their solid forms and heavy outlines the characters have an archetypal quality. \nLaermans created several versions of Women Bathing; but the composition in two of the paintings is spread more broadly. The composition in this painting was also originally wider: on the lower right of the work we see a seated figure that has been painted over. The painting in Ghent emphasises the monumentality of the figures and the landscape is of little importance to the artist. The rear view of the nude woman is derived from a painting by Jacob Jordaens, The Allegory of Fertility (Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels).