Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916), Seated Female Nude, 1889
Seated Female Nude has a bodily sensuality that is often overlooked within Hammershøi’s art; a sensuality that also appears in several of the artist’s renditions of his wife, Ida.
The canvas as skin
With his brushes, the artist has accurately and gently modelled the woman’s skin and voluptuous curves. The concept of the canvas as skin touched and manipulated springs to mind when one comes across a picture like this.
The erotic atmosphere also owes much to Hammershøi’s ability to make the surface pulsate with life. He very rarely closes or saturates his fields of colour, leaving them very thin instead, often transparent, built up from tiny, short, vibrating brushstrokes.
Hammerhøi's circles of motifs
Hammershøi mainly painted interiors, architecture, and landscapes. His circles of motifs typically encompassed the artist’s home, mother, and wife as well as the houses and spaces of Copenhagen, all subjected to stringent compositions. With his characteristic colour scheme of hues of grey, Hammershøi created his own special universe of something that appeared familiar, yet also disturbing and indefinable.