Thomas Gainsborough

Musidora

c.1780–8

Artist
Thomas Gainsborough 1727–1788
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1880 x 1530 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Robert Vernon 1847
Reference
N00308

Not on display

Display caption

This is the only large-scale nude that Gainsborough ever painted. It remained unfinished and was never shown in public in his lifetime. The title probably refers to the nymph Musidora who represented ‘Summer’ in a popular eighteenth-century poem, The Seasons, by James Thomson. But this title was added later. Gainsborough probably saw this woman more generally as an anonymous classical nymph.The figure’s pose is based on a classical marble sculpture in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Gallery label, May 2007

Features

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BP Spotlight: Bodies of Nature

Bodies of (Human) Nature: Nymphs in British Art 1780–1840. Essay by Cora Gilroy-Ware for Tate's BT Spotlights display ...

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