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Woman reclining on a beach

Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and the changing status of women in the 1920s

Fortunino Matania (1881-1963)

A nude woman at a marble bath c.1923

RCIN 927190

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The age-old tradition of the nude as artist’s model, with roots in classical antiquity, takes miniature form in several life studies in the Dolls’ House, including this watercolour of a woman in a Roman baths setting. It is reminiscent of paintings of the biblical tale of Susannah and the Elders, and also recalls the works of the highly successful Victorian painter, Laurence Alma-Tadema. The Neapolitan artist Fortunino Matania was an illustrator, war artist, and painter of scenes inspired by ancient Rome and the Bible.