Philadelphia Museum of Art Custom Prints



View Cart
Shop Main Online Store

About the Artwork

Courbet's paintings of nudes shocked his contemporaries with their naturalism. Unidealized and faithfully depicted, the figures look like ordinary women, which made their nakedness all the more pronounced and disturbing to contemporaries unused to such realism. In Nude Reclining by the Sea, Courbet counters some of this criticism by creating a beautiful but ambiguous picture of a nude woman who is neither a bather nor part of a narrative; in fact, the ships on the horizon seem to suggest that this is an ordinary day by the sea. Sprawled beneath a billowing sail, the woman recalls an odalisque or female slave lying seductively on a fur, yet her pose, with arms raised above her head, was a conventional one for studio models. The juxtaposition of the sea and a nude woman--both thought to be governed by powerful, natural forces--would have been a highly erotic combination for French audiences in the mid-nineteenth century. The small scale and the sensuousness of the picture suggest that rather than creating an intentionally provocative subject, Courbet hoped the work would appeal to a collector.
Jennifer A. Thompson, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 42

Popular Images

About Our Prints

Philadelphia Museum of Art Custom Prints offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.
Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering so make sure to come back and see the new releases.
You have found the work that speaks to you. Now what? Using our innovative custom framing tool you can preview exactly what your finished and framed art will look like. We offer many different moulding styles so there is sure to be a match for any type of decor.

Member Discounts

As always, members will receive their discount for all transactions processed through our Custom Prints store. Simply enter your Member ID during the checkout process and your discount will be applied.