Pierre Paul Prud'hon (French, 1758–1823)
Black and white chalk, stumped, on blue paper
22 x 15 in. (55.9 x 38.1 cm)
Bequest of Walter C. Baker, 1971 (1972.118.226a,b)
This beautiful image of a seated female nude demonstrates Prud'hon's deep commitment to the study of the human figure. He has recorded a simple pose from a challenging point of view and modeled with utmost care the subtle forms of the ribs, knees, and thighs. Velvety shadow runs from the raised elbow to the figure's seat, and highlights soften the forms of the belly and breasts.
The point of view adopted here makes it easy to imagine a semicircle of artists around the model, with Prud'hon perhaps placed at one end. This gathering would have occurred in a private setting, since the Académie Royale did not allow female nude models at the time.