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 Away Sir 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’.