(detail) The Grasshopper,1872,Jules-Joseph Lefebvre.
I adore the sensuality of this painting. Most paintings I’ve seen this well done lose that certain Oh, yes. to them. You can see the flush beneath her skin due to the pinks Lefebvre used. The mere fact that he didn’t exaggerate anything about her—her stomach isn’t rounded obtusely, her hips are realistic, the little bit of arm fat, the shine on her nipple—merge with the coquettish finger in her mouth makes her such a woman.
This isn’t an antiseptic painting of a woman presented to you by someone who isn’t painting the female form but forming the female with acrylic and oil. Lefebvre was able to capture this form’s routine nature, the fact that she had such an average figure. That her hair doesn’t cover but accent. All of this makes this one of the most sensual paintings I have ever seen.
At the same time Lefebvre used this to represent foolishness of the Franco-Prussian war. What! Art is awesome. Everyone should check out more of Lefebvre, who I think is one of the few that have captured the female form without making her look like an alien creature. (And check out the rest of the painting!)