Woman with White Stockings  1864

by Gustave Courbet

Traditionally, European painters made the nude subject decorous by presenting it as part of an edifying mythological narrative. Here, Courbet smashes that fiction. The nude is not Venus or Diana, but rather a prostitute preparing for the act. The picture's sexual content is frank: her genitalia is fully exposed, indeed placed exactly at the center of the composition, and t...
Courtesy of the Barnes Foundation