On a rather ordinary Thursday morning in March, six students in the Bougie Studio are struggling to save an artistic movement from extinction. What they're doing at the moment isn't exactly that heroic: They stand sleepy-eyed and slump-shouldered at their easels, with expressions that suggest concentration if not a little boredom. The sun filters into the studio from the skylight overhead, which is built to the specifications of a design by Leonardo da Vinci--angled 45 degrees to the north so as to capture rays reflected in the northern sky. The students are trying to render the deep shadows this bluish light casts on their model. This man is unclothed and stands rigid in a heroic pose, his hair down to his shoulders and his skin pale. He looks vaguely Gallic, a figure from a painting by David or Courbet, a grape-picker perhaps, or a man just back from the fighting in Algeria. The students peer around their easels to scrutinize the man, scratching charcoal across sheets of cotton rag paper to capture an impression of the cool white skin of the model, wiping their brows with the sleeves of... More >>>