Mary Stevenson Cassatt was an outstanding female painter in the United State in the 19th century to early 20th century. She even could be said to be one of the most important American painters. She was born in May 22, 1844, in a industrial zone of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, America. Her family was a local noble family. Her father was also a rich capitalist and once had been the mayor of the local. However, the ambition of Mary who was the lady in the upper class was to be an artist. Of course, her idea was opposed by her family, but she finally overcame various obstacles and entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1861 and started her own road of art.
The educational methods and contents of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts followed the traditional college teachings of European. During the four years of studying there, Cassatt captured a series of solid painting techniques, but also made her dissatisfactory with the old teaching and curriculum and started to pursue her new world of art. 1866, the 22 years old Cassatt left America and went tot the capital of art at that time-Paris.
But this was not her first trip to Europe. Before she entered the Academy of Fine Arts, she had accompanied her family, touring for many years in various countries in Europe. The historical and cultural cities like Paris, Amsterdam were all her stop land. The education and cultivation of culture, arts and language from childhood made Europe become the spiritual and cultural homeland for Mary Cassatt. In fact, it was a kind of similarities of the American arts at that time.
The education she received was derived from the European traditions, what she studied in Paris after she finished her completion in America were the art activities and artistic changes of European-mainly was the French Impressionist art activities. Therefore, the most important feature of her was a strong relationship with the European art tradition. But as an American painter who lived in Europe for many years, she always maintained some characteristics from the French Impressionists. She learned from them, but also remained her own characteristics. Her rich family provided her with solid material support, so she did not have to worry about the sales of the paintings and devoted herself to her beloved themes-all kinds of family, and developed her fresh and rustic style. She therefore became one of the important and unique female painters in the art movement of the Impressionist.
The Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870, so she had to suspend her study in Paris and returned to America. But she went back to Europe in 1871, Italy. She fully appreciated the charms of the works of European classical masters. Their works, especially the serenity of the Virgin and Child, had a great impact on Cassatt.