The model for the sleeping figure in this painting is Bunny’s wife, Jeanne. They had met in 1895 and married in 1902. She would become his principal model, her graceful form and sensuous features repeated in numerous works and embodying Bunny’s feminine ideal. From the turn of the century Bunny increasingly depicted groups of female figures, often shown relaxing, dreaming, dressing or undressing by expanses of water. In this work Bunny has included a red rose, traditionally a symbol of love and sensuous power, as well as a white swan, symbolic of grace and beauty and a recurring motif of Belle Époque culture. The small dog is often used by artists to symbolise marital fidelity.
Text © National Gallery of Victoria, Australia