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Sleeping Nude

Gustave Courbet1858

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

The paintings of nude women displayed in public venues such as the Salon were given the most ideal proportions and a smooth skin surface, and placed in some mythological or Oriental context in order to sublimate the purely carnal nature of the image. Conversely, quite a few paintings or prints for private display in individual's bedrooms were created with either erotic images of women or erotic acts. Courbet sought to disrupt this dual standard for images of nudes by frequently entering nudes in the Salon that had not been idealized, so-called "ugly" nudes. Sleeping Nude is one of these bedroom pictures depicting a woman asleep on a bed by a window, and thus can be placed in the lineage of the "nudes in a landscape" genre created by the Venetian school, starting with Giorgione and Titian. However, here the private scene of a nude woman in a bedroom and the view out the window reminiscent of the painter's home town in the Franche-Comté region makes the image much more realistic than a Venus set in a pastoral scene. Consequently, the viewer is made strongly aware that he or she is peeping into a private space, a bedroom in which a nude woman is sleeping. The curtains hung in the window and the red bed curtains seem to frame the nude, while also revealing the landscape. Considering that Courbet frequently displayed a tendency to consider his landscapes and nudes in the same terms, clearly it can be thought that both the nude woman in the interior and the landscape outside were directed at the male gaze, and the combination mutually heightens the effects of that gaze. Sleeping Nude derives originally from images of Venus in a pastoral scene, and here the window connects the two. In spite of the fact that this strips away the mythological nature of the work and heightens the sense of secrecy, undoubtedly the painting is in tune with the viewer's joint desire for nature and the woman. Courbet later created a number of other works, as here, depicting nude women lying on beds before windows. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no.63)

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Details

  • Title: Sleeping Nude
  • Date Created: 1858
  • Location Created: France
  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings: Signed and dated lower left: .. 58 Gustave Courbet
  • Provenance: Bischoffsheim Collection, 1882 Henri Garnier Collection; sold at auction through Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 3-4 December 1894, no. 19; Monsieur Desfosses; sold at auction in Paris, 26 April 1899, no. 21; Monsieur Ernst Cognacq; Gabriel Cognacq; sold Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 14 May, 1952, no. 35; Malborough Fine Art, London; Private Collection (Long loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York).
  • Physical Dimensions: w640 x h500 mm
  • Painter: Gustave Courbet
  • Object title (Japanese): 眠れる裸婦
  • Object notes (Japanese): 19世紀には、サロンなど公の場に展示される裸婦は、極度に理想化されたプロポーションと滑らかに仕上げられたテクスチュアを与えられ、直接的な官能性を隠蔽するべく、神話やオリエントといった設定に置かれていた。しかしその一方で、個人の寝室向けに制作されたいわゆる「閨房画」や版画では、エロティックな行為や娼婦のイメージがあからさまに描かれることも少なくなかった。クールベなどは、こうした裸婦を取り巻く二重構造を敢えて破壊するかのように、しばしばサロンに理想化されない「醜い」裸婦を出品して、物議を醸したのである。《眠れる裸婦》は、窓辺の寝台で眠る裸婦を描いた閨房画だが、ジョルジョーネやティツィアーノ以来のヴェネツィア派の「風景の中の裸婦」の系譜に属するとされてきた。しかし、ここでは、寝室の裸婦という私的な情景が、画家の故郷フランシュ=コンテ地方の風景が見える窓辺に置かれることで、田園のヴィーナスなどとは異なる現実性が強調され、観者はこの裸婦のいる寝室という私的な空間を覗いているのだということを強く意識させられることになる。しかも窓にはカーテンが掛けられ、寝台を取り巻く赤い天蓋が裸婦を提示してみせるように、窓の風景もまた提示されている。クールベがその作品中でしばしば裸婦と風景とを同一視する傾向を見せていることを考えれば、室内の裸婦と窓外の風景とは、共に男性たる観者の眼差しにさらされていることになり、相互にその眼差しの効果を高めていると考えられよう。田園の中でまどろむヴィーナスに淵源を持つこの《眠れる裸婦》は、裸婦と風景とが窓によって繋がれたことにより、神話性をはぎ取られ、窃視的な効果を高められたのみならず、自然と女性両方への観者の欲望が呼応し合う性格を帯びることになったに違いない。このあとクールベは、この作品と同じように窓の前の寝台に横たわる裸婦を繰り返し描くことになる。(出典:国立西洋美術館名作選. 東京, 国立西洋美術館, 2006. cat. no. 63)
  • Artist Name (Japanese): クールベ、ギュスターヴ
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: http://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/information/privacy.html
  • External Link: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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