Subscribe to RSS. Campbell eds. The current Royal Academy RA exhibition The Renaissance Nude investigates the representation of the nude human body from the fourteenth century onwards.
Drawing inspiration from classical sculpture and the study of the live model, Renaissance artists made the nude central to their art, creating lifelike, vibrant, and varied representations of the human body. This transformative moment is one that would shape the course of European art history and resonate through the present day. On view at the J.
Jori Finkel. But there is nothing especially feminist about gender parity for nude subjects represented in exhibition works, rather that the artists included. And the idea of a quota is news to the Getty, which originated the show and oversaw the hefty catalogue that accompanies it.
Flick through your memory bank to find the most famous Renaissance images: Venus, Primavera and David will no doubt be prominent. If you disregard that flotilla of virgins floating across your imagination, I bet that a high proportion of the pictures are turning out to be nudes. With the dawn of the Renaissance, the naked body re-emerged in all its glory from behind medieval drapes and was put to a new variety of expressive purposes. It is this moment of remarkable flowering that a Royal Academy exhibition celebrates.
F ull of surprises, and a few shocks, sexy, sacred and profane, The Renaissance Nude is almost as salacious as it is scholarly. It is a riot of bodies in these low-lit, sober grey rooms. Christian martyrs are impaled on trees.
The nude figure is a tradition in Western artand has been used to express ideals of male and female beauty and other human qualities. It was a central preoccupation of Ancient Greek artand after a semi-dormant period in the Middle Ages returned to a central position in Western art with the Renaissance. Athletes, dancers, and warriors are depicted to express human energy and life, and nudes in various poses may express basic or complex emotions such as pathos.
The Renaissance Nude is, you might say, the quintessential form of everything we understand by the Renaissance … the return to the idealised human forms of the Greeks; the obsessive interest in classical bodily proportions and anatomy; the homoeroticism that figured so interestingly in Italian cities at the time; the replacement of Christian unease at nakedness by the cult of the unclothed body as the very measure of natural beauty. So there are Italian nymphs and satyrs next to German ones: the classical-inspired and the Gothic-derived. If the transformative aspect of the Renaissance was the rediscovery of classical physical perfection, the element of continuity is Christian art.
Instead, the exhibition shows intimate and, on the whole, small-scale studies from across a range of media — paintings, drawings, woodcuts, manuscripts, statues — presenting the nude in a range of ways. Nudes in the 15th and 16th centuries were produced for churches and monasteries, private collections, and anatomical treatises, while pornographic prints circulated widely. Some are full of erotic possibilities, though a remarkable number are distinctly unerotic: ironically the least sexy objects are the ones that verge on pornography.
Before smartphones, sending a nude was seriously hard work. There were no quick pics in the bathroom mirror in renaissance Europe; instead, they had to rely on good old-fashioned pen and ink. This neat little show — dedicated largely to drawings, engravings and woodcuts from the time — explores the different ways that the nude was used back in the middle of the last millennium.
Renaissance artists transformed the course of western art history by making the nude central to their art. Drawing inspiration from classical sculpture and the study of the live model, these artists created lifelike, vibrant, and sensual representations of the human body. This exhibition has been organized by the J.