Why Is This Woman Pinching the Nipple of the Other?

Gabrielle d’Estrées and One of Her Sisters (c. 1594) attributed to the School of Fontainebleau. Oil on oak wood. Louvre, Paris, France. Image source Wikimedia Commons

It is hard not to be intrigued by a painting like this. It shows two women sitting unclothed in a bathtub. The one on the right is named Gabrielle d’Estrées. Beside her is another woman — thought to be her sister — who is unambiguously pinching her nipple.

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