Reclining Nude

Reclining Nude
Artist:
Jean-Antoine Watteau (French, 1684-1721)
Date:
c. 1713-17
Medium:
Oil on panel 
Dimensions:
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) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
F.1972.12.P 
Copyright:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
On View
Description

Jean-Antoine Watteau was received into the Royal Academy as a “painter of fêtes 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 Rubénistes, named after Peter Paul Rubens, over the intellectual rigor of the Poussinistes, named after Nicolas Poussin, whose inspirations derived from classical art.

Provenance:

[?]Louis-Antoine Crozat, Baron de Thiers (1699-1770), by 1755, still in 1771.
Prince Alexis Orloff, St. Petersburg.
[Richard Owen, Paris].
Samuel H. Kress, New York; by 1939 until at least 1959.
Private Collection, Paris.
[E.V. Thaw and Co., Inc., New York];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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