Study of a Female Nude
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Pierre-Paul Prud"hon
French, about 1800
Black and white chalk with stumping on blue paper
23 3/4 x 12 1/2 in.

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The nude model's head tilts downward with closed eyes, conveying a sensual aura of dreaminess. The naturalistic texture of her hair, gathered in a bun with delicate curls framing her face, contrasts with the marblelike texture of her skin. Her pose, seated with her arm extended upward and illuminated from the upper left, almost certainly imitates antique sculpture.

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon displayed his classical understanding of the female body in this intimate study, rendering the figure in a series of volumes--cylindrical legs and arms, conical breasts, triangular nose--with a softly yielding treatment of the skin achieved with short repetitive lines of hatching.