Three Pairs of Shoes has elements of still life paintings - the six boots are arranged intentionally on a white display cloth often seen in that genre - and also elements of portraiture. Each shoe, which would have been immediately recognizable to Parisians as a laborer's workboot, exudes its own personality. For any doubting that an inanimate object can convey personality, look no further than Three Pairs of Shoes . As in so much of van Gogh's artwork, the heavy paint application, or impasto, enhances details like the nail heads.
The sharp realism of the brilliant Viennese draughtsman Egon Schiele ( Nude Girl with Crossed Arms , 1910; Woman Undressing , 1917) was exceeded by the naked superrealism of Lucian Freud ( Benefits Supervisor Sleeping , 1977; Esther , 1980), and then by the bulging figures of Jenny Saville ( Branded , 1992). But see also the semi-abstract nudes of Willem de Kooning ( Seated Woman , 1944). Meanwhile in 20th century photography the female nude is exemplified by the edgy imagery of Helmut Newton (1920-2004). In 20th-century sculpture, anatomical realism was exemplified by the polyester and bronze nudes of contemporary American photorealist artist John De Andrea ( Couple , 1971), Model in Repose (1981, National Galleries of Scotland), Untitled Bronze #1 (1984, Chazen Museum of Art) and Sphinx (1987). The voyeuristic tradition was maintained by Balthus ( The Guitar Lesson , 1934 and The Room , 1952), the Swedish Impressionist Anders Zorn ( Girls From Dalarna Having a Bath , 1908), and the German artist Gerhard Richter ( Ema: Nude on a Staircase , 1966), and the fantasy idiom by the Magic Realist Paul Delvaux ( The Hands, The Dream , 1941).