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Reclining Nude, c. 1713-17

Jean-Antoine Watteau

French, 1684-1721
Oil on panel
painted surface: 5-1/2 x 6-3/4 in. (14 x 17.1 cm); panel: 6 x 6-7/8 in. (15.2 x 17.5 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Jean-Antoine Watteau was received into the Royal Academy as a “painter of fĂȘtes galantes,” a designation devised especially for him. His paintings are unique for their suggestion of mood, in particular the transitory sensations of love and melancholy. The subtle, erotic grace of this reclining nude is one in which he took obvious delight. The painting is titillating both for the ambiguity of its subject and for the transitions between passages of fine and bold brushwork, which add spontaneity to the intimate moment depicted. Atmospheric light and the union of color create space around the figure. They demonstrate Watteau’s affiliation with the sensual RubĂ©nistes, named after Peter Paul Rubens, over the intellectual rigor of the Poussinistes, named after Nicolas Poussin, whose inspirations derived from classical art.

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Object Type: Paintings 963 of 979 Previous Previous | Next Next