Study of a standing female nude
Sir Edward John Poynter Bt PRA RWS (1839-1919)
Inscribed with the date 'Dec. 20. 81'.
Red chalk on white paper
14 1/2 x 10 inches, 37 x 25.5 cm.
Poynter painted the subject Diadumene in several versions. The picture which was shown at the Royal Academy in 1885, number 322, was an expanded version of the square format picture shown at the Academy in 1884, number 368; a study for the subject was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1885, number 139. The present drawing corresponds directly with the figure of Diadumene in each of these versions, although the figure in the second Academy exhibit was subsequently repainted with draperies. The woman's pose is taken directly from the classical sculpture, the Esqualine Venus, and named after the similarly posed Diadumenos of Polycletus, a classical Greek sculptor well known for his canonic treatment of human proportions. In the finished work, the woman's pose is duplicated in a silver statuette in the background, emphasising its antecedents. Poynter used his classical references to defend his life-size nude figure against charges of indecency. — Hilary Morgan