During his long career, Jan Sluijters paints landscapes, cityscapes, interiors and portraits, but he owes his fame mainly to his bold paintings of female nudes. For him, women embody the beauty of life and thus they are his favourite subject. He experiments with a variety of styles, from fauvism, luminism and cubism to expressionism, but always paints figuratively and in bright, expressive colours. For him, colour is a means by which to express his emotion.
Two forms of love
The women in this painting represent two forms of love. The seated woman symbolizes the earthly, sensory love, while the standing woman signifies the heavenly, spiritual love, which is regarded as a higher form. His wife and muse Greet van Cooten is the model for both figures.
Sluijters made countless studies and sketches with variations on the theme of earthly and heavenly love, including two oil paintings on canvas. This painting is one of those. The red grid pattern, which he uses to transfer the composition onto the canvas, remains clearly visible.