Phryné devant l’aréopage (1861)

Gérôme, Jean-Léon (1824-1904)

Phryné devant l’aréopage (Phryné before the Areopagus)
Oil on canvas, 80 x 128 cm
Hamburger KunsthalleHamburg


Nadar (1820-1910)
Femme nue debout
Metropolitan Museum of ArtNew York



Famed for his portraits of writers, artists, and left-wing politicians, Nadar is known to have photographed only three female nudes. This one was made at the behest of the painter Jean-Léon Gérôme to assist in the process of painting Phryné before the Areopagus, displayed at the Salon of 1861Gérôme’s painting depicts the moment when the famous courtesan Phryné, on trial for impiety, is suddenly unveiled by her lawyer; persuaded by Phryné’s divine beauty, the jurors acquit her. Like Phryné, who is said to have modeled for the ancient Greek painter Apelles and other artists of antiquity, Nadar’s model, Marie-Christine Leroux (1820–1863), was widely sought by artists of her time and was the basis for the character Musette in Henri Murger’s Scènes de la vie de bohème. (MET)