A drawing of a nude woman, seemingly kneeling on a chair, although the chair is not visible. The background is completely dark with the figure contrasting in light colours. Both legs and arms fade into the edges of the paper, and there are no harsh lines.
Georges Seurat (1859-1891), Female nude, circa 1879 - 1881, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Female Nude

Georges Seurat

Likely executed during a life drawing class, this early work shows Seurat developing his distinctive drawing style. The figure, whose pose suggests she is leaning on a chair, emerges from the network of vigorous crayon marks that have been built up to form a subtle contrast between light and dark.

To achieve the rich blacks, Seurat used a coarsely textured paper that caught the oily Conté crayon as it was dragged across the surface. He avoided harsh outlines, instead shaping the volume of the figure from masses of light and shadow. It is the extraordinary atmosphere of this drawing that gives this work its power, with the stillness of the figure captured through dense layers of sinuous lines that almost vibrate with energy.  

Create your own gallery

Bring home your favourite pieces from The Courtauld’s collection with our exclusive custom prints to suit your space. Choose from art paper or canvas, in a range of sizes and frames, and we will make your print and deliver it directly to your door.


View all prints
Display of prints on a wall i Create your own gallery

You might also like

screencap of virtual tour

Gallery Virtual Tours

Explore each floor of The Courtauld Gallery with our virtual tours. Zoom in to look closely at masterpieces from our remarkable collection, from individual brush strokes to the texture of the paint....

See more collection highlights

Explore The Courtauld’s remarkable collection of paintings, prints and drawings, sculpture and decorative arts.

Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)