Woman Removing a Thorn

Barthélémy Prieurbetween 1536 - 1611

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

This figure (Woman Removing a Thorn) is one of a group of small sculptures by French court sculptor Barthélémy Prieur showing nude women at their toilet and seated on a cloth-draped tree stump. Here, Prieur turns to the theme of pulling out a thorn, familiar from classical antiquity. His treatment of it, however, is far removed from classical models. Even the woman’s hairstyle, with the cloth typical of the age, underscores the distance from ancient examples. The figurine attests to the compositional imagination of this sculptor, who, before he was identified, was rightly known as the Master of the Genre Figures. Instead of the frequently dark patina of small Italian bronzes of the Late Renaissance period, Prieur preferred the natural, light copper shade we see here in the Woman Removing a Thorn.

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