Kunsthalle Bremen Alte Meister Gemälde und Skulpturen [832-1960/24]

Woman Sleeping

Schlafende Frau (Die wachsame Treue) (Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen CC BY-NC-SA)
Provenance/Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen (CC BY-NC-SA)


Jean-Baptiste Deshayes, a pupil and son-in-law of François Boucher, executed the painting Woman Sleeping, which was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1759, entirely under the influence of the galant, erotic painting tradition of the French Rococo. Arranged diagonally on opulent drapery, the sleeping woman is depicted in a diaphanous white garment. Her left shoulder, breast, and leg are exposed. A red ribbon is plaited through her hair, while her lapdog, historically called a Punzenlecker (“fanny licker”) in vulgar German, is kept on a blue ribbon. A golden ring adorns her left hand. The primary colors—red, blue, and yellow (gold)—stand for love, fidelity, and eternity, and the woman’s legs are spread open. Coupled with the, certainly intentional, undulating blue ribbon to the woman’s Punze, and her fingers being linked right in her lap, the composition is charged with eroticism. We may only guess at the nature of the desire of the woman sleeping so peacefully. The viewer’s gaze explores the female body exposed to him, only to be met by the stern, unwavering stare of the dog, which unmasks him as a voyeur. At the same time, the “watchdog” refuses to let the viewer approach.


Oil on canvas


101.5 x 76.0 cm

Painted ...
... Who: Zur Personenseite: Jean-Baptiste-Henri Deshays (1729-1765)
... When [About]


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Kunsthalle Bremen

Object from: Kunsthalle Bremen

Vor über 160 Jahren wurde die Kunsthalle Bremen unweit des Bremer Marktplatzes erbaut, als erstes eigenständiges Haus für eine bürgerliche...

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