(French, 1801-c. 1868)
Salted paper print from wet collodion negative
Image: 15.8 x 21.2 cm (6 1/4 x 8 3/8 in.); Matted: 40.6 x 50.8 cm (16 x 20 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1998.55
Before becoming a photographer and writer on photographic theory, processes, and techniques, Belloc produced watercolors and miniatures. By 1851, he had established a commercial studio in Paris, specializing in portraiture and nude studies. In this example, he carefully positioned his model with favorite props, such as a chaise longue and copious amounts of rich drapery. Natural illumination in the skylit studio clearly defines her sensuous body with bright highlights and rich shadows. The luxurious flesh tones and the suggestive pose add to the picture's eroticism. Shown in exhibitions and purchased by wealthy voyeurs, Belloc's images of nudes were also sought by painters wanting to avoid the expense of a live model.
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