Between Academism And Impressionism: Nude Beauties Of Raphaël Collin
10 juni 2022 
26 min. read

Between Academism And Impressionism: Nude Beauties Of Raphaël Collin

Raphaël Collin (1850-1916), the painter whose works we examine in the current article, provided bonds between French and Japanese art, as his studio was attended by prominent Japanese masters such as Kuroda Seiki, Kume Keiichirō, and Okada Saburōsuke. These painters would become the leaders of the yōga (or Western-style) movement in the fine arts of the East. For his mentorship, Collin would be honored with the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan. The artist is famous for his nudes as well as for illustrations of Songs of Bilitis and the Greek novel Daphnis and Chloe written by Longus. Though Collin tended toward academism, some of his works wear a modern touch, like the drawing Crucified Female, which resembles controversial oeuvres of Felicien Rops.  

 Raphael Collin

Fig. 1. Raphaël Collin (

 Raphael Collin nude

Fig. 2. Nude (

 raphael collin The Beauty Portrait

Fig. 3. The Beauty Portrait (

 Raphael Collin Daphnis and Chloe

Fig. 4. Daphnis and Chloe (

 Raphael Collin Crucified Woman

Fig. 5. Crucified Woman (

 Raphael Collin The Blue Kimono

Fig. 6. The Blue Kimono ( 

Born Of Crisis

Louis-Joseph-Raphaël Collin was the son of Nicolas Pierre Collin, the librarian and amateur painter who exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1865 to 1870. His studies began at the Lycée Saint-Louis. In the middle of the 1860s, he enrolled in the École des beaux-arts de Paris and became a pupil of William Bouguereau, then joined the class of Alexandre Cabanel. Since 1873, Collin had been successfully exhibiting at the Salon. Winning prestigious prizes, he had a lot of commissions for murals. He also designed a number of Theodor Deck's decorative plates. Collin's distinctive manner was developed across academism and expressionism. In the second half of the 19th century, there was a crisis of academism, so new generations of painters sought new techniques. Collin combined the naturalistic depiction of the human body with impressionist usage of light and color. The painting On The Seashore (1892) is, in our view, one of the most flattering examples of the conjunction of two fine art traditions. But the signature of the artist was his other work, Floreal. Shown at the Salon in 1886, it was purchased by the French Government and exposed in the Musee de Luxembourg. In the 1880s, Collin not only produced pictures but also cultivated orchids, lilies, and peonies in his garden, where models posed for him.

 Raphael Collin On the Seashore

Fig. 7. On the Seashore, 1892, drawing (

 Raphael Collin On the Seashore, 1892, painting

Fig. 8. On the Seashore, 1892, painting (

 Raphael Collin Floreal,

Fig. 9. Floreal, 1886 (

 Raphael Collin Summer

Fig. 10. Summer (

Raphael Collin Summer detail

Fig.10a. (Summer) Detail

Raphael Collin pencil drawing

Fig.10b. Study for Summer

The Rising Sun Of Western Art

In Japan, Collin was popularized by the art dealer Hayashi Tadamasa. Tadamasa was a legendary figure who brought ukiyo-e to Europe in the 1880s and, vice versa introduced Western art to the Eastern viewer. The policy of openness to the Western world in the Meiji period provided young Japanese artists the opportunity for cultural exchange. A group of such artists arrived in France to study fine arts. The figure of Raphaël Collin fitted for the mentorship right because of the painter's adherence both to Renaissance and modern traditions. At the same time, as mentioned by Tanaka Atsushi in the account of the life of Kuroda Seiki, Collin might be chosen just because of communicative issues. One of Kuroda's colleagues, Fuji Masazo, who became Collin's pupil earlier, could translate the instructions of the French artist. His tradition was represented in Japan by Kuroda Seiki and Kume Keiichirō, who assumed professorships at the Tokyo Fine Arts School. The influence of Collin can be seen in some of Kuroda's works, such as The Fields (1907). 

 Raphael Collin The Fields

Fig. 11. The Fields, 1907, Kuroda Seiki (

 Raphael Collin A Pensive Moment

Fig. 12. A Pensive Moment (

 Raphael Collin After the Bath

Fig. 13. After the Bath (

 Raphael Collin Nude with a Swan

Fig. 14. Nude with a Swan (

nude in the grass Raphael Collin

Fig. 15. Nude On the Grass (

Raphael Collin Nude On the Grass 

Fig. 16. A Dance of Summer (

 Raphael Collin Nude In the Woods

Fig. 17. Nude In the Woods (

 Raphael Collin Woman After Bath

Fig. 18. Woman After Bath (

 Raphael Collin Adolescence

Fig. 19. Adolescence (

 Raphael Collin Dance 

Fig. 20. Dance (

 Raphael Collin Sleeping Woman

Fig. 21. Sleeping Woman (

 Raphael Collin Daphnis and Chloe

Fig. 22. Daphnis and Chloe (

 Raphael Collin Quietude

Fig. 23. Quietude (

 Raphael Collin Awakening

Fig. 24. Awakening (

Illustrations for Pierre Louÿs' Aphrodite by Raphaël Collin, 1909...

Raphael Collin aphrodite


Raphael Collin Pierre Louys


Aphrodite raphael collin


Raphael Collin Daphnis et Chloé

Fig.28. Daphnis and Chloe, 1890 (Twitter)

Raphael Collin Daphnis and Chloé Raphael Collin

Fig.29. Daphnis and Chloe, 1890 (Twitter)

Click HERE for an article on the Satan servants and the spirit of Salem in the pictures of Félicien Rops

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Sources:; (Tanaka Atsushi. The Life And Arts of Kuroda Seiki)

About the author
Darya is a philologist who lives and works in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She is specialized in Russian literature.
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