Study for Reclining Nude

Study for Reclining Nude, about 1820-1840
William Etty (1787-1849)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 00765
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Study for Reclining Nude

William Etty was a prolific and often controversial figure who dominated the early Victorian art world with his often large paintings of historic and mythical scenes and, most infamously, his paintings of the nude figure.

In his lifetime, his concentration on painting the nude gave rise to much-heated debate about the moral value of his paintings, which were described as ‘voluptuous’ and even as ‘sensual gratifications’.

His depictions of the nude were very life-like, painted from naked bodies in the studio, rather than as idealistic figures. In his autobiography Home and Abroad Merton Russell-Cotes describes Etty as ‘one of the most famous English artists of the classical school of painting’.

The painting is also known as Nude reclining figure in a forest.

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