Nude study of a woman with a lute, 1853
Lord Leighton PRA (1830 - 1896)
RA Collection: Art
A nude study, in pencil, of a standing woman playing a lute. This is similar in style to many of Leighton's early life drawings, with a sharp outline and some shading in hatched lines and smudged pencil. However, the anatomy of this figure is unconvincing, suggesting that it could have been drawn from memory. This drawing, like a number of others in this group, was carried out in Rome and the inscription "Teresa" is almost certainly the name of one of Leighton's models there. Having completed his training with Edward von Steinle in Frankfurt, Leighton arrived in Rome on the 19th November 1852 and spent most of the next two years there.
There is a very similar study of a clothed woman with a guitar (04/641) in this group of drawings and both may relate to a painted composition.
This group of life drawings are very similar in style and arrangement. One is inscribed 'Rome 1853' and it is very likely that the others were also made at life classes either in Rome or in Frankfurt where Leighton studied at the Städelsches Institut. Having completed his training with the Nazarene painter Edvard von Steinle in Frankfurt, Leighton arrived in Rome on the 19th November 1852 remaining there, apart from visits to his family in Germany, until 1855 when he moved to Paris.
Many of these life studies are drawn in pencil with a sharp outline and light modelling effected by the close-knit hatching of fine lines. The academic quality of the drawings derives from Leighton's rigorous training. In later years, Leighton retained a methodical approach to the preparation of his compositions but his life drawings became considerably less restrained and he favoured the more fluid medium of black and white chalks on brown paper.
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