Workshop work in front of the live model

Workshop work in front of the live model

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  • Interior of David's studio at the Collège des Quatre-Nations.

    COCHEREAU Léon Matthieu (1793 - 1817)

  • Study of a naked man from the model.

    MOREAU Gustave (1826 - 1898)

  • A class at the Académie Julian circa 1892.


To close

Title: Interior of David's studio at the Collège des Quatre-Nations.

Author : COCHEREAU Léon Matthieu (1793 - 1817)

Creation date : 1813

Date shown: 1813

Dimensions: Height 90 - Width 105

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas.

Storage location: Louvre Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot website

Picture reference: 01-003882 / INV3280

Interior of David's studio at the Collège des Quatre-Nations.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - G. Blot

To close

Title: Study of a naked man from the model.

Author : MOREAU Gustave (1826 - 1898)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 26.9 - Width 17.5

Technique and other indications: Pencil.

Storage location: Gustave-Moreau National Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. G. Ojeda

Picture reference: 00-025579 / Des.2866

Study of a naked man from the model.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

To close

Title: A class at the Académie Julian circa 1892.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage location: Nemours Castle-Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojedasite web

Picture reference: 96-003153 / FondsArchivesErnestMarché

A class at the Académie Julian circa 1892.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - R. Ojeda

Publication date: February 2008

Doctorate in Art History

Historical context

The artist's academic training

Since ancient times, knowledge of the human body has been the basis for learning the profession of an artist. These were of two kinds: after the ancient sculptures, showing the idealized nude, then after the live model. The teacher pointed to the pose which was kept for several weeks and was subject to general correction by the teacher

Image Analysis

The role of the model in the workshops

The figure of the model occupied a central place in the workshops. The subject of study and anatomical knowledge, the body is at the center of artists' learning. The work of the interior of David's studio features several students busy studying the anatomy of the male model frozen in his contemplative pose. Everyone is busy, who by painting, who by drawing, to capture this musculature. From this work will emerge studies that perhaps resembled that of Gustave Moreau a few decades later. Academic education has perpetuated a very idealized transcription of the body, in the legacy of the Greco-Roman tradition. Designed by Gustave Moreau, this academy - terminology used to describe school work - is typical of the exercises imposed on young artists at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in the 19th century.e century. The pose was not natural but intended to train the students to master the postures necessary for the realization of history painting and to pass the Concours de Rome, the most prestigious of the Academy's competitions. In contrast, the education provided in the free academies of the XIXe century, like Julian, advocated a more realistic relationship to the body. A photograph taken in the 1890s reveals the presence of a female model, naked among an assembly of students gathered around the teacher. Around the easels, palette in hand, they interrupted the pose session. The model here does not appear like that classic beauty that one finds in the drawings of the students of the School of Fine Arts. With her gathered bun, the young woman evokes the physiognomy of cabaret dancers in the canvases of independent artists of the second half of the 19th century, such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Edouard Manet or Edgar Degas. The life of female role models was not easy back then. Often seen as women of petty virtue, they did not enjoy the same respectability as male role models. The superiority traditionally attributed to the male anatomy over the female body remained one of the constants of academic painting throughout the 19th century.e century.


The evolution of the representation of the body in the 19th century

The idealized body image, as practiced by the students of Jacques Louis David or the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, was developed during antiquity. Throughout the modern period, it had been encouraged by theorists such as Winckelmann and maintained by the primacy given to great history painting, a literary and religious genre which occupied the first place in the hierarchy of genres codified by Félibien in XVIIe century. Perpetuating this heritage, the ideal nude still occupied an essential place in the pictorial tradition in the 19th century.e century. David, whose workshop was prolific, had placed the study of the nude at the heart of his theoretical reflections. In a famous declamation on one of his major paintings, The Sabines (Paris, Musée du Louvre), he still advocated the need to imitate the ancients and to learn from them the enhancement of the body through nudity, a nudity heroic and embellished by the artist's spirit. This neoclassical idealization has been largely perpetuated in academic work throughout the century. The reference to the canons of Greco-Roman plastic remained the rule in a learning process that was to lead to the Prix de Rome. However, the XIXe century was also that of a historical change in the representation of the human body. In parallel with the democratization of the status of the artist, and the emergence of new trends such as realism and impressionism, the representation of the body by independent artists has defeated the principles of neoclassical idealization, by favoring the overcoming of the Judeo-Christian divide between the beautiful - expression of divine perfection - and ugly - expression moral degradation.

  • Acadamy of Arts
  • artist workshops
  • neoclassicism
  • naked
  • rome price


Alain CORBIN (dir.)History of the body, From the Revolution to the Great WarFlight. 2, Paris, Le Seuil, 2005. Annie JACQUES and Emmanuel SCHWARTZFine Arts, from the Académie to the Quat’z’artsFine Arts History Collections, National School of Fine Arts, 2001. Nadeije LANEYRIE-DAGENThe invention of the bodyFlammarion, All Art collection, 2006. Anne MARTIN-FUGIERThe Artist's Life in the 19th CenturyParis, Audibert, 2007.

To cite this article

Claire MAINGON, "Work in the studio in front of the living model"

Video: Discover which no-code tools will work for you. Makerpad Live Workshop Replay


  1. Harry

    NOT heard of that

  2. Pasquale

    I have moved away from it the question

  3. Martainn

    I think he is wrong. We need to discuss.

  4. Will

    to you abstract thinking

  5. Jorell

    It does not quite fit me.

  6. Hunt

    just class! I didn't even expect it. I thought it would be worse ...

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