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Oudry's Mystery

"...what is suggested outweighs what is literally expressed..."
—Ananda Coomaraswamy, The Transformation of Nature Into Art

I have been investigating the paintings in Oudry's Painted Menagerie for the artist-at-work demonstration series this summer at the Getty Center and have just completed a study of Oudry's Male Leopard.

The power and the mystery of the painting are in how much Oudry suggests and how little he depicts. The painting is the perfect example of what the space of painting can be. For example, one of my favorite passages is the back foot of the leopard, where Oudry painted shadows, spots, and highlights but used the existing background as a middle tone. Most of the foot is transparent—it is an illusion that the viewer enters into and completes.

My oil study of Oudry's leopard, shown below, is 39" x 39", oil on linen. A detail of the leopard's foot follows.

Male Leopard / Luce

Detail from painting of a Male Leopard / Luce

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