Monday, September 7, 2015

The Young Bather (1866)

Gustave Courbet: The Young Bather

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 enjoying herself at a woodland spring. But by the time the present work was exhibited, viewers were more accepting of Courbet’s approach. One writer praised this "beautiful girl" as "health itself, with an ample and plump silhouette … one couldn’t be more independent or more true." [Metropolitan Museum of Art]

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