Lionello Venturi writes, "Let us turn to the Prostitutes.... Effects of light and shade are here projected into the foreground, so as to emphasize the vehement handling of the nude bodies and to lessen their plastic density. There is no attenuation of his satirical aggressiveness, but the happy complexity of Rouault's style transforms it into pure art. Rouault had still another means of transcending the satirical, and that was to represent the female nude without castigating it, to represent it feelingly in all its natural beauty" (L. Venturi, Rouault, Paris, 1959, p. 56).
Notable resonance in subject matter, if not tone, can be found in the work of Otto Dix (see fig. 2), a German painter who is best known for his politically-charged observations of the Weimar Republic. Conjuring a sense of empty decadence, Dix’s grotesque and exaggerated figures from this time impart a deep sense of irony and social critique, and like Rouault's output say more about society as a whole than the individuals being represented. As Dix grew gradually more disenchanted with the world around him, Rouault grew increasingly more spiritual, turning to his faith for guidance in the trying inter-war period. By 1920, Rouault's work became dominated by religious iconography, leaving the courtesans and magistrates of his past behind.
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