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Seated Female Nude
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Adriaen van de Velde
Dutch, about 1660 - 1670
Black chalk heightened with white chalk on gray-brown tinted paper
10 7/16 x 7 11/16 in.
86.GB.641

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Who is this woman? She sits nude, her left arm outstretched while her right reaches up to grasp it, with a small cloth draped modestly across her lap. Her high forehead, small eyes, long torso, and muscular legs lead scholars to guess that Adriaen van de Velde produced this drawing from a living model rather than an idealized figure.

Choosing black chalk instead of the more traditional red, van de Velde softly shaded her body, adding delicate white heightening for the highlights. The cool colors of the black and white chalks and gray-toned paper complement the refined and delicate modeling of the figure. This subtlety contrasts with the broadly applied chalk strokes that set her off from the background. Van de Velde particularly emphasized the dark shadows beneath her legs and right arm, as well as the softer shadows around her back and upper thigh.