“Naked woman is a woman fully armed” Victor Hugo The work of the late XIX century “Antique bather” written by a French painter, known under a pseudonym, short in contrast to the full name of Eugene Emmanuel Amori-Duval, is laconic to Amory Duval.
The painting was completed in 1860 at the time of the break in the picturesque culture and the transition from pathetic Romanticism to Neoclassicism and the lost traditions of the themes of classical antique painting and the Renaissance. Having a rich school and experience gained in a trip to Italy to study the Italian Renaissance, Amory often resorted to the idea that classical painting with a soft hint of pathos and fleeting pleasure, is close to its viewer more than the artsy abundance and pleasure of the nobles in the canvases. His “Bather” turned out to be soft and ill-conceived, in Duvale style, completely natural and feminine.
The canvas distances the city dweller from vanity and sends his eyes and thoughts to the serene routine of the ancient beauty. The purity of her body and the impenetrable landscape distract the viewer from the dirt and dust of the present, the bustle of transport and everyday life. Despite the great gap from Rafael’s Madonna, the lady of Duval corresponds, according to all the canons, to the beauties of the Ancient Greek and Roman periods.
It was then that women cleaned the curls in a complex weave, bare shoulders and thin neck, their fingers were free of rings, and the face radiated cleanliness and freedom from cosmetics. It was then that the weak half was truly weak, despite the origin and status. Bright skin, hidden from the sun, perfect smoothness, healthy splendor and gentle palms without calluses, not feathered feet characterized the lady of noble blood. For the solitude of women Duval created an atmosphere of peace and quiet. Plants are straight, do not bend from the wind, wild irises have blossomed and stand erect without creases, the sky is amazed by yellow and cloudlessness. It is difficult to judge the time of day – perhaps morning or midday heat. The contrast of shadows is absent in this picture, which creates a haze or fog effect.
The white cotton cloth is damp and emphasizes the shape of the bather. Summer dust is washed from the body and there is reason to just relax by the pond. A woman is modest, but an artist even more so. He deftly covered the woman’s chest with his hand, and with a white cloth – hips. He lowered the gaze of his bather in timid silence to nowhere. Amory Duval painted a picture in a soft color and warm colors. There are no contrasting colors and lots of vanilla, blond shades and sand, even saturated shadows in the depths of vegetation are generous in the heat of brass and olive. “Antique bather” is sweet and transparent. The canvas is oriented to true aesthetes, mostly female audience, and connoisseurs of art in the literal sense of high Painting without a hint of forgery and vulgarity.