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The lying female nude is a classic motif in painting. This tradition includes authors ranging from Francisco de Goya and Jean-August-Dominique Ingres to Édouard Manet, Amedeo Modigliani, and Joaquim Sunyer, and finds its place within periods linked to modernity and freedom.
Celso Lagar dedicated several works to the subject of female nudes with their hands behind their head, in the way of Goya’s The Nude Maja. Some are pastoral scenes, others scenes of Baudelarian brothels.
This drawing, a preparatory study for the oil painting Nude Woman Lying, also from around 1917, incorporates elements from both styles. It depicts a woman portrayed in a Spanish style who is looking at the viewer with a delighted expression. Her body’s position highlights the shape of her bust, belly, and thighs, and underlines the sexual nature of the portrayal. Meanwhile, in the background, a classical architectural element and—more so—the landscape painted in blue that can be seen through the window are references to Mediterranean sensuality and light.