Pierre Paul-Prud’hon — Standing Female Nude Seen from The Back (detail).1790.
“Prud’hon’s drawings continue to be compelling, not only because of their sheer beauty and impeccable draftsmanship but also because of their inherent contradictions. In the same figure, the torso may be borrowed from a fifth-century Venus while the face has the look of an 18th-centurt beauty. The wonderful thing about these drawings is that these tensions are never fully resolved. They pull us in opposite directions and leave us not quite understanding what to feel. That the same object can be both particular and ideal, flesh and marble, life and art, is what is so endlessly absorbing.”