Lefebvre's La Cigale comes from that grand period of French Salon painting when narrative reigned supreme. Drawn from history, biblical and classical sources, the female nude so populated their paintings that Théophile Gautier called the 1863 Salon the 'Salon of Venus'. Young Parisian models were transformed into goddesses of love, liberty, and other uplifting notions.... While nudes abounded, they were respectively veiled in history, boudoir eroticism masked in the acceptability of mythology or classicism. The artists were also much given to allegory and moralizing, Lefebvre's La Cigale being a classic example.
Lefebvre took his subject 'la cigale' (the cicada or grasshopper) from Aesop's well-known fable of the grasshopper and the ant... With the coming of autumn cold, la cigale in her nakedness, realizes her vulnerability and that the season of winter will be as...
nude femaleoil on panel