Reclining Nude, 1887 by Vincent Van Gogh

Reclining Nude, 1887 by Vincent Van Gogh
Courtesy of www.VincentVanGogh.org

The cultural and artistic climate of Paris at this time was diverging in two distinct directions. There was a hotbed of developing artistic trends, with innovative ideas and techniques and progressive attitudes towards the arts, poetry, philosophy, literature and music. There also prevailed a mainstream conformity, a resistance to change and a stifling conventionality was present, especially in relation to the arts. Theo Van Gogh, Vincents younger brother, worked as an art dealer for Boussod & Valadon, the successors of Goupil et Cie, who Vincent had worked for as a young man. Theo was not at this time allowed to display any paintings by the Impressionists or their counterparts on the main floor of the gallery, but had a separate room upstairs where he could hang their work. It was through Theo that Van Gogh became acquainted with a number of artists including Paul Cezanne, Édouard Manet, Camille Pissarro and Claude Monet, and also through the shop of Pere Tanguy who sold artists' materials. This painting of a nude, which was a subject he explored during his second gear in Paris, reflects his style evolving through his increasing awareness of influences around him,