Oil on painting, signed on the lower left corner
Dimensions : 25 x 26 inches, inches 35 x 36 with frame
Jules Marie Sevestre was a talented french painter of the nineteenth century. He worked during the years of political, historical and pictorial upheavals. He was born in 1834, the year of the General Lafayette’s death, while Chateaubriand, Mirabeau and Hugo were discussing the political and artistic future of France.
The painter was taught by the teaching of Camille Corot and Leon Coignet ; he started exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1864. The same year, Viollet-le-Duc dedicated Notre-Dame of Paris after renovation. The French museum was organized ; the institution too. The painter took the codes of the official style of Neoclassicism and immersed himself in the Realism of Courbet after being influenced by the codes of Romanticism. He stopped sending his paintings to the Salon in 1890 to devote himself to a solitary and personal practice.
The painting was inspired by the lesson of Realism by Manet and Courbet. The painter abandoned the psychic depth of the figures of Romanticism to make a nude study. Far from Chassériau, he imitated Ingres, his drawing skills and his academicism.
« The Bather » dates from the 1870s. The Louis XIV’style frame, is the original one. The painter represented a bather in the middle of nature. Depicted in three quarters, the painter shows the arch of her back, solid and delicate architecture around which the composition is organized.
Sevestre develops the back, extends to the leg and draws by the same effect the diagonal of the painting. The girl hold on to a branch, thus pretending the reason why she puts her head on her arm. She crosses her leg in the manner of the Great Odalisque of Ingres. The red hair surrounds her face and emphasizes her back. She looks at the spectator; he observes the green flame that animates her pupils. Nature is subtly suggested, the leaves and the water seem agitated by the thrill of the wind and the hand of the painter.
Museums: museum of Fine Arts of Rouen, museum of Evreux, museum of Vitrée, private collection.
Bibliography: « Revue moderne des arts et de la vie 1920 – 1982 », 1er févr. 1903.
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