She has many relatives. The luscious odalisques of J.A.D. Ingres, Edouard Manet's scandalous "Olympia," the "Pink Nude" of Matisse at the Baltimore Museum of Art -- all these are her kin. But reclining nudes like this one -- "Repose" by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot at the Corcoran Gallery of Art -- are a staple of French painting. Corot (1796-1875) showed this nymph at the Paris Salon of 1861, and then, five years later, repainted her. She reclines on a leopard skin upon the earth beneath the clouds. Quite unembarrassed by her nudity, she looks you straight in the eye. She used to be known as the "Bacchante With a Tambourine," which may be a better title because she isn't all that restful. Her leopard skin suggests the bestial, her tambourine wild dancing. As a bacchante she's a votary of Bacchus, the drunken Roman god of wine and misbehaving. That's him in the background, partying.
"Repose" hangs among with other Corots in the Corcoran's rotunda. The museum, at 17th Street and New York Avenue NW, which is closed on Tuesdays, is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Thursday. Admission for adults is $6.75.
-- Paul Richard