SANTERRE, Jean-Baptiste
(b. 1651, Magny-en-Vexin, d. 1717, Paris)

Susanna at the Bath

Oil on canvas, 205 x 145 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Santerre was mainly a religious painter but his paintings lacked true inspiration. However, his Susanna at the Bath reveals an almost disturbing eroticism and something of that peculiarly chilly Rococo quality which is to be found in Falconet's nude statuettes. Few comparable pictures were to be produced at Venice, whereas Santerre initiates a whole troop of 'baigneuses' who go on dabbling with the erotic possibilities of water as late as Fragonard, all seeming ultimately to derive from Correggio's Leda. And out of this revolution was to come the achievement of Boucher as well as Fragonard.

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