Pierre Subleyras, le bât (d’après Jean de la Fontaine, Contes)

Subleyras’s The Packsaddle is a ‘cabinet painting’, showing a young woman seated on a bed and a man kneeling right in front of her. She is lifting up her nightdress to expose her thighs and abdomen. The man is holding a long painting brush horizontally and his eyes are focused on the tip of brush, which is almost touching her skin below the navel.

The man with the brush represents her illicit lover: the woman’s husband, a painter, painted a picture of an ass on her navel but her lover erased it in the throes of passion. The lover cleverly repaints the image but is later exposed as the returning husband discovers a detail that was not there before.