(b. 1758, Cluny, d. 1823, Paris)
Nude Viewed from Behind1810s
Black chalk with white highlights on blue paper
Forsyth Wickes Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Studies of nudes were usually undertaken during an artists education or served as the basis of paintings. This was not the case with Prud'hon: even as a mature artist he drew from life without seeking to exploit the work further in any way. His model here reveals her back in a classical pose. The idealized beauty of the body - inspired by ancient sculpture - is formed by a flickering pattern of light and shade with soft transitional areas. The sensuousness of the depiction is further enhanced by a sfumato technique reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci.