Truth Coming Out of Her Well  

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The woman is naked and carries a scourge, "to punish mankind", as the title says.

In 2015, the Wikipedia page stated: "It is an attempt to describe the transparency of an illusion. He therefore welcomed the rise of photography as an alternative to his photographic painting. In 1902, he had said "Thanks to photography, Truth has as last left her well."

La Photographe Érotique - Page 92 - Google Books Result - Translate this page Alexandre Dupouy - 2016 - ‎Art En 1902, M. Emile Bayard crée la revue Le Nu esthétique avec le soutien de peintres ... on ne saurait se figurer Vénus habillée, pas plus qu'Hercule ou Mercure ... les Artistes à se dépouiller de la vieille routine et à oublier les vieilles formules.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

La Vérité sortant du puits armée de son martinet pour châtier l'humanité[1] (English: Truth coming from the well armed with her whip to chastise mankind) is an 1896 painting by the French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.


In 1895, Gérôme had painted a similar work, Mendacibus et histrionibus occisa in puteo jacet alma Veritas (English: The nurturer Truth lies in a well, having been killed by liars and actors). It has been suggested that both paintings (like a similar, later work by Édouard Debat-Ponsan) were a comment on the Dreyfus affair. It has also been suggested that the painting is an expression of Gérôme's hostility towards the Impressionist movement, to which he was violently opposed.

However, in a preface that Gérôme wrote for Émile Bayard's Le Nu Esthétique, he refers to the influence photography had had upon painting:

"La photographie est un art. La photographie force les artistes à se dépouiller de la vieille routine et à oublier les vieilles formules. Elle nous a ouvert les yeux et forcé à regarder ce qu'auparavant nous n'avions jamais vu, service considérable et inappréciable qu'elle a rendu à l'Art. C'est grâce à elle que la vérité est enfin sortie de son puits. Elle n'y rentrera plus."


"Photography is an art. It forces artists to discard their old routine and forget their old formulas. It has opened our eyes and forced us to see that which previously we have not seen; a great and inexpressible service for Art. It is thanks to photography that Truth has finally come out of her well. She will never go back."

The expression refers to a widespread translation of an aphorism of the philosopher Democritus, "Of truth we know nothing, for truth is in a well [lit. in an abyss]." The nudity of the model refers to the expression 'the naked truth'. According to his biographer Charles Moreau-Vauthier, Gérôme slept with the painting above his bed and was found after his death with his arm stretched out towards it in a gesture of farewell.

The painting was exhibited at the Salon in 1896. Since 1978 it has been part of the permanent exhibition at the Musée Anne de Beaujeu in Moulins, France.

See also

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