(b. 1824, Dijon, d. 1848, Dijon)

Nude Girl on a Panther Skin

Oil on canvas, 110 x 178 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Félix Trutat was a French painter who died too young. He made his debut at the age of 20 with this painting. In it one senses not only that the young painter had perceptions and sensibility in advance of his time, in that he anticipates an almost naturalistic approach, but one recognizes also that the presentation of intimacy is comparable with that in Goya's Maja paintings. Trutat, too, lets there be no doubt that this is a painting of a real person, and not a model transformed into a general aesthetic. He did lay a Tyrsos stave on Bacchus' panther skin, to create a mythological identity for the nude, and the head of an old man in the background - borrowed from the biblical iconography of Susanna with the elders - makes the girl seem even more youthful, as it is slightly enlarged.