The subject of Afternoon in Naples is clear—the female nude sprawled on the nude man who nonchalantly lies on his stomach, while a maid enters with refreshments.
According to Ambroise Vollard, the title was suggested to Cézanne by his painter friend Antoine Guillemet. It alludes “to the popular notion of Italy as a place of freedom, of sensual life and gaiety.” The theme is typical of the erotic fantasies that appear frequently in Cézanne's early work, a fantasy informed by other art. In the first surviving watercolor for this composition, the appearance of the servant from the curtained background and th e presence of a black cat seem to derive from Edouard Manet's Olympia (1863), exhibited at the Salon of 1865.
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