William Orpen Biography
One of the greatest portraitists of his day Orpen also was a brilliant painter of the nude genre. Orpen was clearly influenced by Rembrandt's pictures, both in its intimacy, shadows and lighting effects and rich glazes. In particular, Rembrandt's Bathsheba seems a specific and close precedent, which Orpen would have seen in the Louvre on the trip he made to Paris specially to see Leonardo's Mona Lisa. Orpen was enormously impressed too by the large exhibition of paintings, drawings and prints held at the Royal Academy in 1899, and which stirred him to turn to etching himself.
Despite its Old Master precedents, Orpen's treatment of his nude was advanced and risky. While fellow artists Sickert and Steer had shown boudoir nudes at their toilette, neither had dared to create a pure nude at this date, and to treat the subject so sensuously.