Venus

reclining nude woman

James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903)
Venus, 1859
Etching and drypoint, black ink on ivory laid paper
6 × 9 in. (15.2 × 22.8 cm)
Second state of two
Signed at lower left in plate: “Whistler. 1859.”
Gertrude Kosovsky Collection
© The Frick Collection

 

The model for this sensuous nude on a disheveled bed is Fumette. The figure's unidealized, voluptuous form evokes Courbet's realist nudes, while the pose may refer to Rembrandt's famous etching Jupiter and Antiope. A deep appreciation for the Dutch master's prints was at the heart of the Etching Revival and central to Whistler's development. In Venus, the faint imprint of another figure is seen upside down in the lower right hand corner.