a look at

The Cursed Woman Painting

WHO WAs octave tassaert?

Tassaert was famous for history and genre paintings, especially exploring everyday issues like homelessness, suicide, and sickness. He eventually stopped painting and committed suicide.

historical overview

Octave Tassaert was known for depicting scenes in his paintings ranging from religion, allegory, and history, while also producing various genre paintings that explored the harsh and everyday realities of urban life.

historical overview

As for The Cursed Woman by Tassaert meaning, some have mentioned that this could be the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who is pleasured by “celestial spirits”.

subject matter

There are four centralized nude female figures, or what appears to be female. The central figure is depicted in the throes of sexual pleasure, which is given to her by the three female figures holding on to her body.


The women appear to be floating in an unknown space, and this is further highlighted by the purple piece of drapery in the upper left part of the composition, floating as if there is a gentle breeze.


There are pastel purples, yellows, and blues, as well as the soft pale skin tones of the figures. The central female figure’s skin is notably starker in its tone compared to the other three figures.


We can deduce implied texture in the purple cloth and all its folds. Furthermore, it billows from an unknown air/wind source, giving it a light appearance.


There is a commingling of different lines and shapes as the figures intertwine in their act of pleasure. We will notice a dominance of curved and diagonal lines as the bodies curve and writhe along with their open space.