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Figures paintings subject • artists • artworks for sale figures in fine art

Figures can be farmers or fishermen, a child or baby figure, a portrait or a nude. The latter was both a loaded and beloved subject. Actually, nudes were portrayed from the Middle Ages, for example in depictions of Adam and Eve or Danaë, later made famous by Rembrandt. From the Renaissance onwards, mythological depictions were a permissible way of painting nudes. It was usually about the woman, because with or without clothes around the body she was traditionally a popular artistic theme. After classical antiquity, the man was depicted much less naked. Until the 18th century, it was possible to depict the female nude freely in the Netherlands, provided in an allegorical or historical context or in farcical, contemporary representations. Due to new ideas about what was proper, the subject increasingly faded into the background. The female nude was no longer allowed to be seen outside the bedroom.

Idealized, proper and decent
Because of this strict morality, the female nude was rarely painted in the first half of the 19th century. If so, the artists followed the academy's rules for portraying idealized, feminine beauty. At the academies, students drew from plaster casts of classical statues, and until well into the 19th century, the female live nude model was banned from the classrooms. Women were mainly depicted in their role as mothers, taking care of their children or knitting, handcrafting or daydreaming in an interior.

The living female nude model
In the second half of the 19th century, the rules relaxed somewhat. Nude models were now allowed at academies and imperfections were also allowed to be painted. The emotion and personal impression of the painter were considered important. Bathers were a good excuse for painters to paint nudes. Henri Fantin-Latour, painter of many portraits, painted countless nudes. The way of portraying was often dreamy, the light diffused, creating an aesthetic distance between the nude and the viewer. The taboo was still deeply rooted.

The pure, bare reality
It was the Amsterdam painter G.H. Breitner who consciously wanted to break the taboo with his smoothly painted, realistic nudes. He used models he picked up from the street, often working class women with red hands from the rough work they did. Contemporaries' opinions on his paintings ranged from daring to obscene. Isaac Israels and Kees Maks also devoted themselves to wide-bodied nudes, although they were portrayed more delicately and less 'undressed' than those of Breitner.

Love and emotion
In the 20th century, the nude in any form or pose has been widely accepted. In response to industrialization and urbanization, the German Expressionists idealized the nude in the wild. Leo Gestel and Jan Sluijters provide spectacular expressionist or luminist nudes in the Netherlands. The model is often the painter's wife. An example of this is a series of nudes by George Grosz, one of the most important artists of German Expressionism of the early 20th century. After a period of heavy social criticism and series of raw drawings and paintings, he left Berlin in 1933 and emigrated with his wife and children to the United States. There he made numerous nude portraits of his wife, Eva Louise Peter. None of the rawness of his early nudes can be found in these paintings and drawings. They testify to the painter's deep love for his model.


Andreas Schelfhout | Forest landscape with figures by a river (Pendant of winter landscape), oil on panel, 52.8 x 72.5 cm, signed l.l. and painted circa 1815

Andreas Schelfhout

painting • for sale

Forest landscape with figures by a river (Pendant of winter landscape), ca. 1815

Herman Brood | The confessional, felt-tip pen on paper, 29.0 x 38.8 cm, signed l.c. and dated 1992

Herman Brood

watercolour • drawing • for sale

The confessional, 1992

Henri Evrard | Pierrot, oil on panel, 35.8 x 26.2 cm, signed u.l. and dated '85

Henri Evrard

painting • for sale


Adolf Stademann | Skaters on a frozen waterway, oil on canvas laid down on panel, 33.5 x 46.2 cm, signed l.l.

Adolf Stademann

painting • for sale

Skaters on a frozen waterway

Pieter d'Hont | The Conversation, bronze, 55.0 x 36.0 cm

Pieter d'Hont

statue • sculptuur • for sale

The Conversation

Louis Abel-Truchet | Le soir au café, oil on canvas, 48.5 x 29.4 cm, signed l.r. and painted ca. 1905

Louis Abel-Truchet

painting • for sale

Le soir au café, ca. 1905

George Martens | Kattendiep, evening, oil on panel, 31.0 x 42.5 cm, signed on the reverse and painted ca. 1925

George Martens

painting • for sale

Kattendiep, evening, ca. 1925

Louis Meijer | Mountain landscape with figures, oil on canvas, 67.0 x 85.0 cm, signed c.l.

Louis Meijer

painting • for sale

Mountain landscape with figures

Jean Béraud | Les Midinettes, oil on painter's board, 54.9 x 36.7 cm, signed l.l.

Jean Béraud

painting • for sale

Les Midinettes

Marcel Cosson | After the theater, oil on panel, 55.1 x 46.1 cm, signed l.l. and painted in 1920

Marcel Cosson

painting • for sale

After the theater, 1920

Otto Eerelman | Horse-drawn sleigh in a town, oil on canvas, 60.3 x 90.3 cm, signed l.l.

Otto Eerelman

painting • for sale

Horse-drawn sleigh in a town

Josje van Riemsdijk | Masai man with a fish, bronze, 39.0 x 13.5 cm, signed on the base

Josje van Riemsdijk

statue • sculptuur • for sale

Masai man with a fish

Willem Bastiaan Tholen | Market on the quay, oil on panel, 29.1 x 35.9 cm, signed l.l. and dated '83

Willem Bastiaan Tholen

painting • for sale

Market on the quay, 1883

Sierk Schröder | Crouched nude, chalk on paper, 35.8 x 35.8 cm, signed l.r. and dated '82

Sierk Schröder

watercolour • drawing • for sale

Crouched nude, 1982

Jan Rijlaarsdam | Street with figures, oil on canvas, 60.3 x 51.4 cm, signed l.l.

Jan Rijlaarsdam

painting • for sale

Street with figures

Albert Roelofs | Oil study of figures and a playing child, oil on panel, 16.9 x 22.4 cm

Albert Roelofs

painting • for sale

Oil study of figures and a playing child

Corneille | Le Chemin d'un Philosophe, watercolour and gouache on newspaper, 34.2 x 22.1 cm, signed u.l. and dated '47


painting • for sale

Le Chemin d'un Philosophe, 1947

Amerikaanse School, 20e eeuw | Drumming medicine man of Indian tribe, oil on canvas, 128.0 x 89.8 cm

Amerikaanse School, 20e eeuw

painting • for sale

Drumming medicine man of Indian tribe

Karl Wolfgang Boehmer | Christmas Eve, ink and watercolour on paper, 26.6 x 21.0 cm, signed l.l.

Karl Wolfgang Boehmer

watercolour • drawing • for sale

Christmas Eve

Jan Heyse | Female nude with a tulip, oil on canvas laid down on board, 54.6 x 40.3 cm, signed u.l. and dated 1951

Jan Heyse

painting • for sale

Female nude with a tulip, 1951

Harm Kamerlingh Onnes | Maidservant, polychrome glazed earthenware, 25.5 x 11.5 cm, signed on the inside with monogram and dated '76

Harm Kamerlingh Onnes

painting • for sale

Maidservant, 1976

Harm Kamerlingh Onnes | Group hug, polychrome glazed earthenware, 16.5 x 15.0 cm, signed on the underside with monogram and stamp and dateed '81

Harm Kamerlingh Onnes

painting • for sale

Group hug, 1981

Harm Kamerlingh Onnes | Summer day on a terrace by the sea, pencil, pen and watercolour on paper, 21.1 x 24.1 cm, signed l.l. with monogram and dated '75

Harm Kamerlingh Onnes

watercolour • drawing • for sale

Summer day on a terrace by the sea, 1975

Nicolaas Roosenboom | Figures on the ice in an approaching storm, oil on panel, 49.1 x 75.1 cm, signed l.l.

Nicolaas Roosenboom

painting • for sale

Figures on the ice in an approaching storm

Karel Arkema | Figures and horses in colored landscape, gouache on paper, 37.5 x 49.7 cm, signed l.r. and dated 1955

Karel Arkema

watercolour • drawing • for sale

Figures and horses in colored landscape, 1955

Otto van Rees | North African woman, oil on canvas, 65.7 x 54.5 cm, signed l.r. and dated '35

Otto van Rees

painting • for sale

North African woman, 1935

Floris Arntzenius | F.J. van Rossum du Chattel and J.A. Frederiks playing cards at Pulchri, crayon and watercolour on paper, 13.7 x 11.6 cm, signed l.l.

Floris Arntzenius

watercolour • drawing • for sale

F.J. van Rossum du Chattel and J.A. Frederiks playing cards at Pulchri

Kees Verkade | Clown, bronze, 52.5 cm, signed on the base with initials and dated '77 on the base

Kees Verkade

statue • sculptuur • for sale

Clown, 1977