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 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’.


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