Liggend naakt

  • 1931
  • Jan Sluijters
  • oil on canvas
  • 115,5 x 178,8 x 8,5 cm (incl. lijst)
  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 1936
  • Inventory number 448
  • schenking / donation H.J. van Abbe

The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.

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This painting depicts a semi-curled up woman lying on a bed. She has her back to us and is covering her face with her left arm. The proportions of the human body are well respected and realistic, portraying the natural folds of the skin. The pastel colours and the dominant white tone give the whole picture a calm and soft finish.

Sluiters came from a modest family in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. His father was an illustrator and engraver. He began his career as an illustrator, but his aim was always to become a visual artist. He gained recognition after he won the Prix de Rome in 1904, which included a grant for him to embark on a four-year study tour of Europe, including visits to Rome and Paris. His grant was stopped in 1906 because the jury found that his work had taken too modern a turn.

Jan Sluijters experimented with various styles including fauvism, cubism and expressionism, and he painted many recumbent women. However, this painting is in a more classical style. It underlines his ability to adapt to different ways of painting. Sluijters was a personal acquaintance of the Van Abbe family, whose art collection gave rise to the museum.


Queer perspective

We observe her from a close distance, unable to see her face which is buried in the linen. Have a closer look. What is being highlighted? The naked female body has been used in the study of human anatomy in the art world over the past few centuries, mostly for the benefit of the overwhelmingly male art practitioners. Women’s bodies are portrayed as shapes, volumes, buttocks, angles, armpits, breasts and shadows. What we are looking at is a passive object of study, an anonymous erotic and aesthetic exercise. Now consider how we imagine the female body, how we view other women’s or our own bodies. Have we internalized this view? Is there somehow somewhere, inside us, a Man, a male voyeur observing the female nakedness; the shapes, the volumes, the buttocks, the angles, the armpits, the breasts and the shadows?

%>Tags: agency, binary, fetishization, patriarchy, gaze, embodiment

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