The painted, secular nude is as old as Giorgione (c.1477-1510), but it has tended, since then (if a painting rather than a drawing), to have been executed in oil paint. Watercolour is traditionally the medium in which the British have excelled, but generally to produce a landscape painting; watercolour is a far less forgiving medium than oils, and it is unusual to find a nude executed in this way; the work of William Russell Flint (1880-1969) is an exception. In this study, command of the model’s anatomy, the light falling on a three-dimensional form and the depiction of a solid body in space are all expressed rapidly and spontaneously in this most difficult of media, without compromising the exquisitely fluent outline of the silhouette.
Stephen Rose was born in Rochford, Essex, in 1960. His career as an artist began when, aged 8, he saw a print of Caravaggio’s Conversion of St Paul. He was trained at the Medway College of Art (1979-80), Cheltenham College of Art (1980-83; BA Hons in Fine Art), the British School in Rome (1982), and the Royal Academy of Art (1983-86; Diploma in Fine Art). In 1992 he was elected Brother of the Art Workers Guild, Bloomsbury, London.
He has won various awards, including the British Institute Award, 1983; the Royal Academy Painting Prize, 1984; the Landseer Scholarship, 1985; the Richard Ford Travelling Scholarship, 1986 (when he studied at the Prado, Madrid); and the Royal Overseas League International Painting Competition Travelling Prize, 1987 (when he visited in northern India). He has exhibited at the ICA, the Mall Galleries, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the National Portrait Gallery (BP Portrait Competition); in 2001 he had his first one-man exhibition at Target, in Munich, Germany.