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The Italian artist, Amedeo Modigliani, painted Nu Couche in 1917. Alternative names for the painting are those of Reclining Nude and Red Nude.
This painting is one of the most reproduced paintings in the world, with the original having been sold at Christies for £113 million.
During his career, Modigliani painted many nudes, but Nu Couche is by far his most famous. The painting was created for Léopold Zborowski, a Polish art dealer. This painting was one of many in a series of nude paintings.
Sadly, Modigliani only had one art exhibition during his lifetime, in 1917, at the Galerie Berthe Weill, in Paris. It is reported that Nu Couche was one of the paintings that he most wanted to display.
Nu Couche is a piece of modernist art, in which Modigliani drew inspiration from painters such as Picasso and Matisse, and works such as Titian's Venus of Urbino. The glorification of the naked body, as depicted in Nu Couche, is made highly desirable in this provocative pose. The heightened sexuality is also further enhanced in the redness of the sheet that the nude is reclining upon.
What we see when we observe this painting is a beautiful woman reclining on what appears to be a red bed sheet, with her head resting upon a pillow. The pose is relaxed and natural.
She has her arms raised above her head, which expose her full breasts. Her lips are red and her eyes have been heavily painted to make them appear much bigger. The woman is beautiful with dark curling hair that covers the pillow.
When the painting was exhibited, it caused a huge outcry and scandal. This was perhaps due to the fact that one of the nude paintings in the exhibition has been displayed openly in a window for the public to see.
As a result, the police were informed and the exhibition closed. It was only a short three years later that Modigliani died at the age of 35. Modigliani is now regarded in the art world as one of the greatest painters of the last century. Nu Couche is also perceived to be his life's masterpiece.