Wood Nymph by Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 – 1904)

Date: N.D.
Dimensions: 22.5 × 12.25cm
Medium: Oil on canvas
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Presented by James A Healy, 1975 (Josephine C. Healy Memorial Collection)


While some of his symbolist works relate to famous works of classical music, including Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold, others, such as Wood Nymph, depict female nudes in natural settings and appear to have few specific mythological references.

In Greek mythology nymphs were minor nature goddesses who appeared as beautiful maidens and usually inhabited the sea, rivers, woods or trees.

Throughout history artists have used mythological themes as an excuse to paint the female nude. Created using thin glazes of paint, this atmospheric image of reclining nude in a woodland setting fits into this genre.

Written by Riann Coulter


About the Artist

Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 – 1904)

Born 1836, Grenoble, France. Died 1904. Born in Grenoble, France, Henri Fantin-Latour studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and achieved fame as a painter and lithographer celebrated for his delicate flower paintings and portraits of Parisian artists. Married to the Parisian flower painter Victoria Dubourg, Fantin-Latour was an associate of Whistler and the Impressionists. Although he painted portraits of Manet, Monet and Renoir, Fantin-Latour was a traditional painter who did not share their progressive techniques. Despite his largely realist style, throughout his career he produced a body of symbolist work on mythological themes that contrasted significantly with his more mainstream portraits and still-life.

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