Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat (1859–91)
Female Nude
c. 1879–81
Black Conté crayon over stumped graphite
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Courtauld Bequest, 1948

This female nude — one of very few Seurat drew — emerges from deep shadows. The contours of her body are defined by shading and stumping rather than by hard outlines. In contrast to the stillness of the figure, the background, composed of a web of vigorous crayon marks, vibrates with energy. The model's conventional pose suggests that this work may have been made in a life class, where her raised knee and hands would have rested on a chair.