The British artist Albert Moore (1841 – 1893) in his last years painted countless scenes similar to this one that is now preserved in the Tate Britain in London. In fact, this one we see was made in 1875 and is one of the first.
It is always about sleeping girls or women, in the most languid attitudes and who usually wear classical-style clothing, as well as the environment where they are located also reminds of Antiquity. The truth is that they are like colorful homages to the classical sculpture, for which Moore had a real fascination.
The Sleeping Girl by Albert Moore
That passion for these works awoke in him after a trip to Rome and from the multiple visits he made to the British Museum where the marbles brought from the Parthenon in Athens.
Basically these kinds of images like The Sleeping Girl are not telling us anything, but they are conceived as an aesthetic exercise where the protagonists are the colors, the lines or the prints. The girl is another object within the set, which is similar to a still life. However, we should not understand it as a work with a merely decorative interest. Albert Moore's purpose goes further, since he tries to capture the most perfect formal beauty. And it is that this type of work can be understood as a reference of the beautician movement thataround that time it occurred among some English and also French painters.
And to achieve that ideal of beauty there are elements that are used again and again. Chiffon robes, sometimes almost transparent, is one of them, but there are more. For example, the vases, the rugs made with animal skins, the patterns on the cushions or the fans with an oriental influence. With all this, a most delicate scene is composed. Let's look at the girl's head, for example. A relaxed head that is wrapped by her arm and crowned by the flower that she wears in her ear. This head and arm are the end of the sinuous body, which has become a careful design object rather than human.
That flower is very important, like others scattered throughout the canvas, since all of them are notes of color in a most serene scene with tones that tend to be cold. These flowers, which are painted with total realism and precision, are striking points of warmth and attention towards the chromatic harmony of the scene.
And another element that undoubtedly attracts attention is the dynamism of the fabrics. In a scene where nothing moves, the dress seems to give everything life. Albert Moore made innumerable studies to master the representation of these very bright and at times translucent fabrics. Something that he achieved thanks to his laborious and delicate work process, which consisted of applying successive layers of paint, one on top of another, until he achieved the look he was looking for.