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This young woman appears to have been startled by something – she turns her head and clasps her blouse to her chest. Her expression seems calm, however, perhaps suggesting that she is familiar with whatever has distracted her. Her pose is based on the Medici Venus, a famous marble sculpture of the goddess of love made in Greece in the first century BC. While the sculpted Venus is nude, this woman is just covered by a thin white blouse and brown shawl.
The smooth skin of the woman’s face and neck was created with feathery brushstrokes of pink, white and subtle blue tones, while thicker layers of paint give her arms a sense of three-dimensionality. Fine, delicate brushstrokes make up her glossy black hair, with bright highlights to show the reflection of light. This picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828.
This young woman appears to have been startled by something – she turns towards an unseen disturbance to the right and clasps her blouse to her chest. Although Dubufe was well known as a portraitist of the French aristocracy, the identity of this woman is unknown. Her state of semi-undress suggests that this picture was not intended to depict a particular person, but may instead have been based on a model.
Dubufe has based the woman’s pose on a famous Greek marble sculpture from the first century BC, known as the Medici Venus. It shows the goddess with her head positioned towards the right and her right arm clutched to her chest. Unlike the woman in this painting, the sculpted Venus is completely nude.
The plain, dark background emphasises the woman’s porcelain white skin and her flushed pink cheeks, and her striking amber-coloured eyes glow in the warm light. The smooth skin of her face and neck was created with feathery brushstrokes of pink, white and subtle blue tones, while thicker layers of paint give her arms a sense of three-dimensionality. Fine, delicate brushstrokes make up her glossy black hair, with bright highlights to show the reflection of light.
Some pentimenti can be seen in this picture – Dubufe has made the woman’s right shoulder slightly wider than was originally planned, painting over some of the background paint with a pale flesh tone. This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828.
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