Renaissance Nude: Agnolo Bronzino, Saint Sebastian, c. 1533
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From the grotesque to the erotic: ‘The Renaissance Nude’ at the Royal Academy of Arts

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From the grotesque to the erotic: ‘The Renaissance Nude’ at the Royal Academy of Arts
The Renaissance fascination with the human form is on full frontal display at the Royal Academy

The human form in its infinite variety, at one extreme idealised, at the other rendered grotesque, is the unifying factor in the Royal Academy’s The Renaissance Nude, an exhibition that brings together a roster of artists, working in many media, who may not normally share a show. On the one hand are the showstopping Venus Rising from the Sea (c1520) of Titian and magnetically attractive Saint Sebastian (c1533) of Bronzino. But three steps away are voyeuristic inspections of the bathhouse and of priapic satyrs, erect male members poking from their goaty groins. Eroticism is never far away but, as with the human body, it is better disguised by some than by others.


Renaissance nudes: Titian, Venus Rising from the Sea (‘Venus Anadyomene’), c. 1520.
Renaissance nudes: Titian, Venus Rising from the Sea (‘Venus Anadyomene’), c. 1520.

The exhibition opens and closes with the religious art that was at the heart of 15th- and 16th-century painting and sculpture, and whose narratives come ready made. Christ is stripped naked for his baptism, flagellation and scourging. Depictions of his vulnerable, mortal state were intended to demonstrate that he was only flesh and blood, like those who contemplated his plight.

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Source: iNews

Original publication April 23rd 2019

Posted on NatCorn 26th April 2019

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