The Young Bather

Gustave Courbet French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 811

The traditional theme of women bathing attracted Courbet’s attention repeatedly in the 1860s. This scene revisits a motif that excited a furor of controversy when the artist first broached it a decade earlier: a realistically fleshy nude at water’s edge in a woodland setting. But by the time the present work was exhibited, viewers were more accepting of Courbet’s approach. One writer praised this "beautiful girl" dipping her toes in the water as "health itself, with an ample and plump silhouette . . . . One could not be more independent or more true."

The Young Bather, Gustave Courbet (French, Ornans 1819–1877 La Tour-de-Peilz), Oil on canvas

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