Alcove Window

Voyeurism, a motif throughout Lequeu’s designs, is explored explicitly in this nude. Through the bull’s-eye window of an alcove, the viewer gazes at a turbaned woman, eyes downcast and unaware of an observer’s presence, as she holds a mirror. The pointed ornament surrounding the opening is echoed in the antique-like relief on the mirror, which depicts a cupid holding a mirror decorated with a standing figure. This infinitely recurring effect visualizes voyeurism as an insatiable quest that both tantalizes beholders and separates them from the objects of their desire.

Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826)
Alcove Window, 1797–98
Pen and black ink, brown and gray wash
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Departement des Estampes et de la photographie