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The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form (1956)

av Kenneth Clark

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Serier: A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts (2)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
824720,574 (3.98)15
From the art of the Greeks to that of Renoir and Moore, this work surveys the ever-changing fashions in what has constituted the ideal nude as a basis of humanist form.
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Kenneth Clark

The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form

The Folio Society, Hardback, MMX.

Folio. xvi+336 pp. Slipcase. 180 colour illustrations. Preface by the author [xv-xvi]. Introduction by Charles Saumarez Smith, February 2010 [vii-xiii]. Index [313-36].

First published by John Murray, 1956.
Princeton/Bollington edition, 1990.
Reprinted by The Folio Society with minor emendations, 2010.

Contents

Introduction
Preface

I. The Naked and the Nude
II. Apollo
III. Venus I
IV. Venus II
V. Energy
VI. Pathos
VII. Ecstasy
VIII. The Alternative Convention
IX. The Nude as an End in Itself

Notes
List of Works Cited
Illustrations
Index

===================================================

This is not a review – I have done that elsewhere – but a few comments on this particular edition. Knights of the Blue Flag, do your duty!

This is my first experience with The Folio Society. It may not be the last. When it comes to lavishly illustrated volumes, they seem to be doing rather a fine job in reprinting them. It is not a perfect job, however.

First of all, the illustrations! Only 180 of the original 298 are left here. All of them are in colour and reproduced in superb quality. It is really something to see Rubens’ Deposition (here renamed The Descent from the Cross) on full page and in full colour. Stunning stuff! But the omissions are regrettable. All of them are mentioned in the original text, and very few are superfluous; and black-and-white is much better than nothing. Indeed, Renoir’s Baigneuse au griffon, Ingres’ Venus Anadyomene, Rubens’ Perseus and Andromeda and Michelangelo’s drawings for The Battle of Cascina – to say nothing of Day and Dusk in the Medici Chapel! – are unforgivable omissions in a book dedicated to the nude.

By way of compensation, sort of, there are quite a few additions, notably Goya’s Maja desnuda, Rembrandt’s Danaë, Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa and Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe, all of them mentioned in the text but missing from the original edition. All are welcome, as are the others. Altogether, there are 11 new illustrations in this edition. Ergo, the number of omissions is not 113 (293-180) but 124 (293-180+11). See the Appendix below for more information (and note that two of the original illustrations are retained but moved to the cover and the frontispiece). My only other criticism of the illustrations is that the “Kritios youth” is too small and the frescoes from the Sistine Chapel seem to come from the drab pre-restoration times.

So far as I can tell, the text is exactly the same, preface, notes and all. The only difference is the subtitle (“A Study in Ideal Form”), as one might expect considering this is a reprint of the American edition (the British subtitle is “A Study of Ideal Art”, otherwise both editions appear identical), and the missing references to the omitted illustrations. I guess this can pass for “minor emendations”. The only original text is the new introduction by one Charles Saumarez Smith. It is readable without being absorbing and informative without being illuminating. You may skip it with a clear conscience. Clark’s text is not entirely self-sufficient, but neither does it need introductions by lesser minds and pens.

The Index and the List of Works Cited are greatly expanded from the rather perfunctory original versions. This is a minor point in favour of The Folio Society edition.

To sum up, if you need but one edition of The Nude, this is the one. It looks spectacular. But if you are seriously interested in the book, you might want to have an old edition as a reference. It is not such a glorious visual journey, yet, paradoxically, some of Clark’s points are better illustrated.

Appendix: List of Illustrations

NB. This is an edited version of the original list I attached to my book review. The illustrations in bold are the ones retained in The Folio Society edition; the rest are the omissions. The first numbers are those from the original edition. The numbers – or, in two cases, the words – in square brackets after the title refer to The Folio Society edition. The titles themselves are mostly taken from the original book, but some changes in the new one (presumably the more accurate fruits of better scholarship) are marked in italics. The additional illustrations are in bold also, but do not have a first number, of course.

1. Velasquez. Rokeby Venus. [1]
2. Greek. 2nd century B.C. Mirror. [2]
3. Picasso. Bathers. [3]
4. Courbet. ‘La Source.’ [4]
5. Rejlander. Photograph. [5]
6. Kyonaga. Colour print. [6]
7. Etruscan Tomb. ‘Il Obeso.’
8. Villard de Honnencourt. Antique figures.
9. Leonardo da Vinci. Vitruvian Man. [7]
10. Cesarino. Vitruvian Man, from the Como Vitrivius. [8]
11. Dürer. Nemesis. Engraving.
12. Dürer. Measured nude.
13. French. 16th century. Bronze cast of Venus of the Belvedere. [9]
14. Memlinc Workshop. Eve. [10]
15. Sansovino. Apollo. [11]
16. Graeco-Roman. Apollo. [12]
17. Attic. 5th century B.C. Palestra scene.
18. Italian MS. 14th century. Three Graces. [13]
19. Michelangelo. Crucifixion.
20. Attic. c. 600 B.C. Kouros. [14]
21. Attic. 6th century B.C. Apollo of Tenea.
22. ‘Kritios,’ c. 480 B.C. Ephebe. [15]
23. Magna Grecia. c. 490 B.C. The Apollo of Piombino.
24. After Polyclitus. c. 450 B.C. Doryphoros.
25. After Polyclitus. c. 450 B.C. Diadumenos.
26. After Polykleitus. c. 450 B.C. Torso of the Doryphoros. [16]
27. Greek. ? 4th century B.C. The Idolino.
28. Greek. ? c. 400 B.C. After the Discophoros of Polyclitus.
29. Greek. c. 450 B.C. Apollo. [17]
30. Style of Pheidias. Apollo of the Tiber. [18]
31. Praxiteles. c. 350 B.C. Hermes. [19]
32. After Praxiteles. c. 350 B.C. Apollo Sauroctonos.
33. Style of Praxiteles. Bronze Boy from Marathon.
34. Cellini. Perseus. [20]
Lysippos (?). The Praying Boy. [21]
35. Greek. ? 2nd century B.C. The Apollo Belvedere. [22]
36. Early Christian. 5th century A.D.
37. Nicola Pisano. Fortitudo. [23]
38. Donatello. David. [24]
Roman, 1st century BC. Spinario. [25]
39. Perugino. Apollo and Marsyas. [26]
40. Dürer. Apollo.
41. Michelangelo. Nude Youth. [27]
42. Michelangelo. An antique god.
43. Michelangelo. Detail of David. [28]
44. Michelangelo. Creation of Adam. [29]
45. Pheidias. c. 435 B.C. Dionysos from Parthenon. [30]
46. Michelangelo. Apollo–David.
47. Michelangelo. Detail from Last Judgment. [31]
48. Poussin. Apollo crowning Virgil, frontispiece to the royal Virgil of 1641.
49. Mengs. Parnassus.
50. Canova. Perseus. [32]
51. Prehistoric. Figure of a woman.
52. Cycladic Doll.
53. Greek. Early 6th century B.C. Venus mirror handle.
54. Attic. 6th century B.C. Black figure vase.
55. Panphaios. c. 500 B.C. Vase (detail). [33]
56. Attic. 5th century B.C. Terra-cotta doll.
57. Greek. 5th century B.C. Torso (replica). [34]
58. Greek. 5th century B.C. Esquiline Venus (replica). [35]
59. Ionian. Early 5th century B.C. Flute player on Ludovisi throne. [36]
60. Ionian. Early 5th century B.C. Aphrodite on Ludovisi throne. [37]
61. Hellenistic. ‘Venus Genetrix.’
62. Greek. c. 400 B.C. Bronze figure of a girl. [38]
63. Greek. c. 400 B.C. Bronze figure of a girl.
64. After Praxiteles. c. 350 B.C., A.D. 180. Cnidian Venus. [39]
65. After Praxiteles. c. 350 B.C. Cnidian Venus.
66. Hellenistic. Capitoline Venus.
67. Hellenistic. Medici Venus. [40]
68. Greek. c. 100 B.C. Aphrodite of Melos. [41]
69. Hellenistic. Bronze Venus.
70. Greco-Roman. Aphrodite of Kyrene. [42]
71. Greco-Roman. Three Graces. [43]
72. Graeco-Roman. Three Graces. Louvre
73. Greco-Roman. 1st century A.D. Three Graces. [44]
74. Giovanni Pisano. Temperance.
75. Florentine. c. 1420. Marriage tray. [45]
76. Botticelli. Three Graces (detail from Primavera). [46]
77. Botticelli. Birth of Venus (detail). [47]
78. Botticelli. Truth (detail from Calumny of Apelles). [48]
79. Lorenzo di Credi. Venus. [49]
80. Signorelli. Nude (detail from School of Pan).
81. Raphael. Three Graces. [50]
82. Raphael. Leda.
83. Raphael. Adam and Eve.
84. Marcantonio. Adam and Eve. [51]
85. Federighi. Adam and Eve. [52]
86. Raphael. Venus (drawing).
87. Raphael. Kneeling Girl (drawing). [53]
88. Bellini. Woman at her toilet.
89. Giorgione. Venus. [54]
90. Titian. Venus of Urbino. [55]
91. Cesare da Sesto. After Leonardo da Vinci. Leda. [56]
92. Giorgione. ‘Concert Champêtre.’ [57]
Manet. Déjeuner sur l’herbe. [58]
93. Sebastiano del Piombo. Life drawing of a woman. [59]
94. Titian. Sacred and Profane Love. [60]
95. Titian. Venus Anadyomene. [61]
96. Titian. Venus and the Organ Player. [62]
Rembrandt. Danaë. [63]
97. Titian. Danaë. [64]
98. Titian. Diana and Callisto. [65]
99. Correggio. Jupiter and Antiope. [66]
100. Correggio. Danaë. [67]
101. Bronzino. Allegory of Passion. [68]
102. Ammanati. Venus. [69]
103. Giovanni da Bologna. Astronomy.
104. Rubens. Three Graces. [70]
105. Rubens. Venus and Cupid with Bacchus and Area.
106. Rubens. Rape of the Daughters of Leukippos. [71]
Rubens. Diana and Callisto. [72]
107. Rubens. Perseus and Andromeda.
108. Watteau. Judgment of Paris. [73]
109. Boucher. Miss O’Murphy. [74]
110. Boucher. Diana. [75]
111. Rubens. Life drawing of a woman. [76]
112. Clodion. Nymph and Satyr. [77]
113. Ingres. ‘Baigneuse.’ [front cover]
114. Ingres. Venus Anadyomene.
115. Ingres. ‘La Grande Odalisque.’ [78]
116. Ingres. Study for ‘L’Age d’or’.
117. Ingres. ‘Le Bain Turc.’ [79]
118. Courbet. ‘L’Atelier du peintre’ (detail). [80]
119. Manet. Olympia. [81]
120. Renoir. ‘Baigneuse au griffon.’
121. Renoir. ‘La Baigneuse blonde.’ [82]
122. Renoir. Three Bathers. [83]
123. Renoir. Bather seated. [84]
124. Pan-Athenaic Amphora. 6th century B.C. [85]
125. Attic. c. 480 B.C. Wrestlers.
126. Pollaiuolo. Nude men fighting. Engraving. [86]
127. Attic. c. 470 B.C. Bearded God of Histiaia. [87]
128. Attic. c. 440 B.C. Lapith and Centaur, from metope of Parthenon.
129. After Myron. c. 450 B.C. Discobolos (reconstruction). [88]
130. After Myron. c. 450 B.C. Discobolos of Castel Porziano.
131. Michelangelo. Athlete. [89]
132. Greek. 3rd century B.C. Wrestlers. [90]
133. Attic. c. 440 B.C. Iris from west gable of Parthenon.
134. An Amazon. c. 350 B.C. From frieze of Mausoleum. [91]
135. Workshop of Scopas. c. 350 B.C. Battle of Greeks and Amazons. From frieze of Mausoleum.
136. Greeks and Amazons. c. 350 B.C. From frieze of Mausoleum. [92]
137. Workshop of Scopas. c. 350 B.C. Greeks and Amazons. From frieze of Mausoleum.
138. Greek. ? 3rd century B.C. Borghese Warrior.
139. Late Antique. 4th century. Hercules and Stag. Ravenna
140. Tuscan. 12th century. Samson and Lion.
141. Antico. Hercules and Lion. [93]
142. Pollaiuolo. Hercules slaying Hydra. [94]
143. Pollaiuolo. Hercules and Antaeus [painting]. [95]
144. Pollaiuolo. Hercules and Antaeus [sculpture]. [96]
145. Graeco-Roman. Dancing Faun.
146. Signorelli. Drawing.
147. Signorelli. The Blessed. [97]
148. Signorelli. The Damned. [98]
149. Bertoldo. Battle piece.
150. Michelangelo. Battle of the Centaurs.
151. After Michelangelo. Copy of cartoon for Battle of Cascina. [99]
152. Michelangelo. Bathing soldier for Cascina cartoon.
153. Michelangelo. Study for Cascina cartoon.
154. Leonardo da Vinci. Muscular legs.
155. Raphael. Men fighting. [100]
156. Michelangelo. Athlete. [101]
157. Michelangelo. Three Labours of Hercules.
158. Michelangelo. Victory. [102]
159. After Michelangelo. Samson defeating Philistines.
160. Vincenzo Danti. Honour.
161. Giambologna. Mercury. [103]
162. Rubens. Abduction of Hippodameia. [104]
163. Greek. 2nd century B.C. Torso of Satyr.
164. Blake. From ‘Europe.’
165. Blake. Glad Day. Colour print. [105]
166. Vitruvian Man from Scamozzi’s ‘Architettura universale’. Venice, 1615.
167. Géricault. Leda. [106]
168. Delacroix. Girls wrestling.
169. Degas. Woman sponging her back. [107]
170. Degas. Jeunes Filles spartiates. [108]
171. Greek. (?) 5th century B.C. Son of Niobe.
172. Greek. (?) 5th century B.C. Daughter of Niobe. [109]
173. Graeco-Roman. Soldier’s Gravestone.
174. Pergamene. 3rd century B.C. Marsyas. [110]
175. Pergamene (?). 2nd century B.C. Laocoön. [111]
176. Rome. (?) 4th century. Crucifixion. Ivory plaque.
177. Constantinople. 10th century. Crucifixion. [112]
178. German. 10th century. Gero Cross.
179. Cimabue. Cross. [113]
Grünewald. Isenheim altarpiece. [114]
180. Masaccio. The Expulsion.
181. Ghiberti. Sacrifice of Isaac. [115]
182. Provencale. 15th century. ‘Pietà’. [116]
183. Donatello. Dead Christ with Angels.
184. Giovanni Bellini. Dead Christ with Angels. [117]
185. Michelangelo. ‘Pietà.’ [118]
186. Raphael. Entombment. [119]
187. Michelangelo. Dying Captive. [120]
188. Michelangelo. Heroic Captive. [121]
189. Michelangelo. Athlete. Vatican, Sistine Chapel
190. Michelangelo. Captive. [122]
191. Michelangelo. Day. Florence, Medici Chapel
192. Graeco-Roman. The Torso Belvedere.
193. Michelangelo. Night. [123]
194. Michelangelo. Dawn. Florence, Medici Chapel
195. Greek. (?) 2nd century. Ariadne. [124]
196. Michelangelo. Crucifixion. [125]
197. Michelangelo. Crucifixion. [126]
198. Michelangelo. Crucifixion. Windsor, Royal Library
199. Michelangelo. Palestrina ‘Pietà’. [127]
200. Michelangelo. ‘Pietà.’ Florence, Cathedral
201. Michelangelo. [Rondanini] ‘Pietà.’ Milan, Castello
202. Rosso Fiorentino. Moses Defends the Daughters of Jethro. [128]
203. Titian. St. Sebastian. [129]
Carracci. Pietà. [130]
204. Caravaggio. Entombment.
205. Rubens. The Descent from the Cross. [131]
206. Rubens. Three Crosses. [132]
207. Rubens. Mourning over the Dead Christ.
208. Poussin. Death of Narcissus.
209. Poussin. Mourning over the Dead Christ. [133]
Géricault. The Raft of the Medusa. [134]
210. Delacroix. Barque of Dante.
211. Rodin. Three Shades. [135]
212. Hellenistic, 1st century BC. The Borghese Vase. [136]
213. After Callimachus. (?) 4th century B.C. Spartan Girl dancing.
214. After Callimachus. (?) 4th century B.C. Spartan Girl dancing.
215. Greco-Roman. Three Maenads. [137]
216. After Scopas. 4th century B.C. Maenad.
217. Greco-Roman. Dionysiac procession. [138]
218. Graeco-Roman. Dionysiac sarcophagus (detail).
219. After Scopas (?). A Tritoness.
220. Graeco-Roman. Nereid sarcophagus. [139]
221. Graeco-Roman. Nereid sarcophagus. Vatican
222. Late Antique. c. A.D. 350. Silver dish from the Mildenhall Treasure.
223. Greco-Roman. 1st century A.D. Nereid. Wall painting from Stabia. [140]
224. Late Antique. c. A.D. 380. The Casket of Projecta.
225. Indian. 6th century A.D. Flying Gandharvas.
226. Hans Fries. Last Judgment (detail of a triptych). [141]
227. Lorenzo Maitani. The Creation of Eve. Orvietto, Cathedral
228. Ghiberti. The Creation of Eve. East doors of Baptistery, Florence
229. Pisanello. Luxury. [142]
230. Donatello. Detail from Cantoria.
231. Pollajuolo. Dancing Nudes.
232. Botticelli. The Winds (detail from Birth of Venus). [143]
233. Titian. Bacchus (detail from Bacchus and Ariadne).
234. Titian. Reclining Maenad (detail from Bacchanal). [144]
Goya. Maja desnuda. [145]
235. Titian. Europa.
236. Correggio. Io.
237. Lotto. Triumph of Chastity. [146]
238. Bernini. Apollo and Daphne.
239. Raphael. Triumph of Galatea. [147]
240. Carracci. Triumph of Galatea.
241. Poussin. Triumph of Galatea.
242. Carpeaux. Dance. Model for Paris Opera. [148]
243. Matisse. Dance. [149]
244. Michelangelo. Resurrection. [150]
245. Michelangelo. Risen Christ. [151]
246. Michelangelo. Resurrection. [152]
247. Rogier van der Weyden. Last Judgment (detail).
248. German. c. 1235. Adam and Eve.
249. Wiligelmus. c. 1105. Adam and Eve. [153]
250. German. c. 1010. The Fall. Bronze doors.
251. The Expulsion. Hildesheim, c. 1010, bronze doors. [154]
252. French. 12th century. Eve. Autun, Cathedral Museum
253. French. 13th century. Last Judgment. [155]
254. Maitani. Last Judgment. [156]
Rogier van der Weyden. Last Judgment (detail). [157]
255. De Limbourg. The Fall. ‘Très Riches Heures’
256. Van Eyck. Eve (detail of Ghent altar-piece). [158]
257. Van der Goes. Adam and Eve. [159]
258. School of Memling. Vanitas. [160]
259. Bellini. Vanitas.
260. Konrad Meit. Judith.
261. Dürer. Naked Hausfrau. [161]
262. Dürer. Women’s Bath.
263. Dürer. Four Witches. [162]
264. Niklaus Manuel Deutsch. Masked flute player.
265. Urs Graf. Woman stabbing herself.
266. Cranach. Venus and Cupid. [163]
267. Lorenzo Costa. Venus.
268. Cranach. Venus. [frontispiece]
269. Cranach. Judgment of Paris. [164]
Pontormo. Three Graces. [165]
270. Indian. 8th century. From the painted caves of Ajanta
271. Goujon (?). Diana of Anet. [166]
272. Rembrandt. Diana. Etching.
273. Rembrandt. Cleopatra.
274. Rembrandt. Old woman bathing her feet. Etching. [167]
275. Rembrandt. Bathsheba. [168]
276. Rodin. ‘La Belle Heaulmière’ [169]
277. Cézanne. Nude. [170]
278. Rouault. Two Prostitutes. [171]
279. Greek. c. 438 B.C. Ilissus. From west front of Parthenon.
280. Michelangelo. River god. [172]
281. Doidalsus (?). Early 4th century. Crouching Venus.
282. Pollaiuolo. Bowmen (detail from Martyrdom of St. Sebastian). [173]
283. Raphael. Drawing for ‘Disputa’.
284. Marcantonio. Engraving after Raphael. Massacre of the Innocents.
285. Marcantonio. Engraving after Raphael. Judgment of Paris. [174]
286. Matisse. Blue Nude. [175]
287. Matisse. Nude. From ‘Poésies de Mallarmé’. [176]
288. Brancusi. Torso.
289. Picasso. ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’. [177]
290. Picasso. Woman in an armchair. [178]
291. Picasso. Four of the 18 stages of ‘Les Deux Femmes nues’. [179]
292. Henry Moore. Recumbent Figure. [180]
293. Henry Moore. Reclining Figure.
294. Roman. The Emperor Trebonius Gallus.
295. Graeco-Roman. Hermaphrodite.
296. Greek. 5th century. The River Alpheus.
297. Metz. c. 850. The Crucifixion.
298. Boldrini. After Titian. The Monkey Laocoön (woodcut). ( )
1 rösta Waldstein | Jan 1, 2021 |
Kenneth Clark

The Nude: A Study of Ideal Art*

John Murray, Hardback, 1957.

8vo. xxiii+408 pp. Preface by the author [xxi-xxii]. 298 black-and-white illustrations. Notes [361-98]. Index [399-408].

First published, November 1956.
Reprinted, January 1957.

Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Preface

I. The Naked and the Nude
II. Apollo
III. Venus I
IV. Venus II
V. Energy
VI. Pathos
VII. Ecstasy
VIII. The Alternative Convention
IX. The Nude as an End in Itself

List of Books referred to in Abbreviated Form
Notes
Index

*US editions, for some reason, have the subtitle “A Study in Ideal Form”.

===================================================

You can easily tell, even if you don’t know it, that this book was not based on a TV series. It is a far denser and more closely argued tome than Civilisation (1969). That’s the only problem with it: Clark’s mighty erudition is a tad overwhelming. Now and then, the poor lay reader is almost crushed by allusions that are really quite a challenge to follow. The book started as a series of lectures Clarke gave in 1953 at the National Gallery in Washington, and it’s not hard to believe his claim from the preface that he had never “spoken to a more appreciative audience.”

To give you an idea of the text’s densely allusive nature, here are several examples. When Clark says that “Michelangelo has turned from the second style of Pergamon to the first, from the Laocoön to Marsyas”, you are allowed to scratch your head, but you can refer to earlier parts of the text and the illustrations and actually see whether the point is worth considering. Indeed, when you see Pisano’s squat male nude at the pulpit of the baptistery in Pisa, you can hardly fail to disagree the work was indeed a “false dawn of the Renaissance”[1]. The “Cartesian maenads” of Matisse are somewhat more challenging, yet one can still get the point from the context and very basic knowledge of Descartes.

But when Clark says that “Lysippus shows a consciousness of existence in space and a multiplicity of view very different from the austere frontality of Praxiteles”, or mentions a relief “similar to that in Vienna attributed to Francesco di Giorgio” as a possible inspiration of Botticelli’s Primavera, or speculates that the “firm, shameless torso [of Titian’s Reclining Maenad from Bacchanal] must have been in Goya’s mind when he painted the Maja desnuda”, you have nothing to work on but your own knowledge and sensibility, plus the almost infinite resources of the Web, if you want to find out what is meant and whether you agree with it. Such examples are not in the majority, but they are fairly frequent.

Nevertheless, even though many allusions may well fly high over the lay reader’s head (quite a few certainly flew way over mine) and Clark seems a little intoxicated with his own eloquence (to say nothing of his quoting in French and Italian without translation), the book is beautifully written and compulsively readable. The thematic approach is far more difficult than the chronological, but correspondingly more rewarding if it can be pulled off with Clark’s brio. The coverage is very much centred on the Antiquity and the Renaissance, but it does extend to the whole of the nineteenth century, especially to Ingres, Renoir and Rodin, and even to Matisse and Picasso in the twentieth; now and then, when apposite, medieval art and some 17th-century Dutch masters are mentioned as well. The discourse is broad-minded and anything but prudish, as clear from the beginning:

There is an aspect of the subject so obvious that I need hardly dwell on it; and yet some wise men have tried to close their eyes to it. ‘If the nude’, says Professor Alexander, ‘is so treated that it raises in the spectator ideas or desires appropriate to the material subject, it is false art, and bad morals.’ This high-minded theory is contrary to experience. In the mixture of memories and sensations aroused by the nudes of Rubens or Renoir are many which are ‘appropriate to the material subject.’ And since these words of a famous philosopher are often quoted, it is necessary to labour the obvious and say that no nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling, even although it be only the faintest shadow – and if it does not do so, it is bad art and false morals.

And yet, while it must never be devoid of erotic interest, neither must the nude ever be confined to it. As you might expect, Kenneth Clark is no mere sensualist, not even one of those people who give the word “aesthete” rather a bad name. As in Civilisation, art is never used as an end in itself, a mere source of aesthetic pleasure, but always as the deepest and most infallible expression of human nature and, by extension, the zeitgeist. The nude, in short, must embody spiritual values, and if it doesn’t, as it didn’t in the academic nudes of the nineteenth century for example, it is a lifeless form of purely decorative art – pretty, perhaps, but nothing more. The Nude, in short, is about two things: 1) why the nude flourished in the Antiquity and the Renaissance, but was rather unpopular otherwise; and 2) how it was used to express godlike perfection, human imperfection and, among other things, “Energy”, “Pathos” and “Ecstasy”.

I’m sure Kenneth Clark would have agreed – probably did agree – with Bertrand Russell that Classical Greece is one of the greatest, most influential and most inexplicable miracles in history[2]. Among other things of some importance such as mathematics, drama, democracy and philosophy, the Greeks somehow, quite suddenly as far as history is concerned, invented an art form which proved more durable and more versatile than just about any other. The birth of the nude is Kenneth Clark at his considerable best:

The bodies were there, the belief in the gods was there, the love of rational proportion was there. It was the unifying grasp of the Greek imagination which brought them together. And the nude gains its enduring value from the fact that it reconciles several contrary states. It takes the most sensual and immediately interesting object, the human body, and puts it out of reach of time and desire; it takes the most purely rational concept of which mankind is capable, mathematical order, and makes it a delight to the senses; and it takes the vague fears of the unknown and sweetens them by showing that the gods are like men, and may be worshipped for their life-giving beauty rather than their death-dealing powers.

The nude in Classical Greece was ruthlessly male. The female nude was a Hellenistic invention; quite rare in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, but rather more prominent in the next several hundred years. Venus of Milo, quite the most famous female nude of all time, is dated around 100 BC. The cult of Venus as a goddess (“Venus I”), as opposed to an object of more earthly desires (“Venus II”), lasted for a long time, but it finally collapsed, as civilisations often do, from the inside. Discussing a rather ugly version of the Three Graces on a painting from the 1st century AD, Clark offers this provocative analysis which may not sit well with the apostles of the militant feminism fashionable nowadays, but it would be given its due by everybody genuinely interested in art:

But it would be a mistake to suppose that the change in the female nude was due solely to the pressure of an outside influence. Styles, like civilisations, collapse from within, and to a large extent the shape of these Graces represents one of those standard, popular deformations which take places wherever the discipline of an ideal scheme is relaxed. All through antiquity the nudes engraved on the backs of mirrors or painted on inexpensive pottery tended to assume this curious proportion when the craftsmen were careless, incompetent or provincial. Perhaps there is in this, besides incompetence, a kind of naive realism. The drift of all popular art is towards the lowest common denominator, and there are more women whose bodies look like a potato than like the Cnidian Venus. The shape to which the female body tends to return is one which emphasises its biological functions; Venus is always ready to relapse into her first vegetable condition.

The representation of the female nude in late antiquity from which I have drawn these conclusions are scanty and, for the most part, crude. Long before it had become the object of moral or religious reprobation it had practically ceased to be the subject for art. As far as I know there is not a single nude statue of a woman which can be dated with any probability after the 2nd century A.D. Venus had suffered the fate of any motive in art which loses its meaning. She had passed from religion to entertainment, from entertainment to decoration: and then she had disappeared.


As he made clear in Civilisation, Clark was a believer in individual genius. So this book too, while full of fascinating general observations, is very much driven by the individual genius of a few artists. Two of them may be said to dominate the whole volume, Michelangelo and Rubens. Clark jokes in his preface that he entered areas of scholarship, notably the two titans just mentioned, which bear the sign “Trespassers will be prosecuted”, but his discourse is judiciously audacious and highly appreciative.

He does, however, fall in some common traps. Michelangelo was “most troubled by his erotic feelings for young men” while at work in the Medici Chapel, so he chose female figures for Dawn and Night. We may safely assume this is nonsense. And yet, Clark is in a different league altogether than the usual hack who scribbles on the subject. It is another matter to read that Michelangelo was “passionately stirred by male beauty, and with his serious, Platonic cast of mind he was bound to identify his emotions with ideas. This passage of violent sensuous attachment into the realm of non-attachment, where nothing of the first compulsion is lost but much gained of purposeful harmony, makes his nudes unique.” This is a far cry from, and a great improvement on, the tons of homoerotic cant fashionable in more recent decades.

In “Energy”, Clark argues that Michelangelo’s deliberate distortions, in the ignudi on the Sistine Ceiling and virtually all figures from The Last Judgment (including the terrifying Christ in the centre), were necessary to express a sense of tension essentially different than the best examples of the Greeks (e.g. Discobolos). Standing in repose, Michelangelo’s nudes would be monstrous, at least according to the Greek ideas of proportion and beauty. But caught in the middle of restless movement, they are mesmerising creatures. Even when they are in repose, for example Day and Dusk in the Medici Chapel, Michelangelo’s nudes are anything but calm. In “Pathos”, Clark continues the distortion argument with Michelangelo’s Pietàs. He makes another good case, too. The body of Christ does indeed progress from absolute perfection in the early and most famous version, now in St Peter’s, to extremes of massive power (“Palestrina”) and almost Gothic thinness (“Rondanini”) in the versions Michelangelo was all but obsessed with towards the end of his life.

Those nudes are not just powerful symbols that remain stirring five centuries later. They were also something entirely new at the time and proved to be vastly, one might even say disastrously, influential. Michelangelo’s influence, extending from his contemporaries to the end of the 19th century and from the most famous (such as Rubens, among others) to the most obscure, has never been described better in fewer words:

Now, it is obviously foolish to criticise Michelangelo’s nudes from the point of view of a supposed norm of human beauty. But it remains true that Michelangelo’s intensely personal use of the nude greatly altered its character. He changed it from a means of embodying to a means of expressing emotions; he transformed it from the world of living to the world of becoming. And he projected his world of the imagination with such unequalled artistic power that its shadow fell on every male nude in art for three hundred and fifty years. Painters either imitated his heroic poses and proportions, or they reacted against them self-consciously and sought a new repertoire of attitudes in the art of 5th-century Greece. In the 19th century the ghost of Michelangelo was still posing the models in art schools, and compelling would-be realists to see a system of forms invented to express his own troubled emotions. Gericault has used one of the athletes of the Sistine as the culminating figure in his Raft of Medusa, and even the arch-realist Courbet, in his Wrestlers, was not able to shake off what Blake called that Outrageous Demon.

Clark’s inferences about this or that pose, subject or composition being influenced by others before them can be rather simplistic. Following his method, I am surprised he missed some rather obvious examples. Titian’s Europa, for example, is more than a little indebted to Michelangelo’s God separating light from darkness on the Sistine Ceiling.

Rubens did for the female nude what Michelangelo had done for the male, namely he realised its infinite expressive potential. Also, if I may be so bold as to add something to Clark’s analysis, the influence of Rubens stretched far and wide, too. Only Renoir in the late 19th century did finally manage to create massive female nudes that were decidedly un-Rubensian. Likewise it was Rodin, I should say, who was the first master of the male nude to escape the influence of Michelangelo. But he did so, as evident from his Three Shades, at the expense of further distortion which I, personally, find much less appealing than Clark does.

The nude is a form of art, not a subject for it, argues the author. If I understand this correctly, Clark maintains that the nude body, unlike a landscape or an animal, cannot be translated directly into a work of art. Sir Kenneth may have a point there, but I don’t really agree with him. A fine body needs no great artist to be beautiful; even a mediocre dauber would do. Sure, a fine artist would enhance the body’s natural beauty; but the same is true of a beautiful landscape, animal or whatever. On the other hand, it takes the genius of the greatest to transform an unappealing body into a work of art. Rubens’s Three Graces, while massive and fat rather than plump, are indeed graceful. Whether they are sensual is a matter of personal taste, but hardly anyone except people totally insensitive to painting would deny their aesthetic beauty. Some of Renoir’s bathers are far fatter than anything in Rubens – they are grossly obese, in fact – but who can resist Renoir’s glorious use of colours?

By no means do I always, or indeed often, agree with Clark’s opinions. But his enthusiasm is delightful even when he goes way overboard about something I don’t really care for. That is a precious gift very few authors have. Personally, I have always found Botticelli’s Venus frightful below the chin; the shoulders and the hands, especially, are hideous. And I think Raphael’s otherwise exquisite female nudes have some of the ugliest knees and calves ever painted by anybody. But Clark is smitten with both, and while he is certainly not going to change my mind, his rhetorical effusions remain a pleasure to read.

Also, it seems to me, Clark’s twentieth-century digression in the final chapter feels rather forced. He sounds like somebody who tries to like, or at least appreciate, something that’s really quite alien to him. It is debatable what kind of man Kenneth Clark was, an Antique Man, a Medieval Man, or a Renaissance Man. But one thing is certain. He was no Modern Man. Perhaps personal impressions interfered as well. For this is the only place in the whole book where Clark claims a direct contact with his subject: he visited Picasso at his studio in 1944. In this context, I can accept Clark’s extolling Woman in an armchair without laughing out loud.

But that is merely nitpicking. No single person can cover such a vast subject with complete success. Likewise it is rather a silly thing to complain about Clark’s omissions or inclusions. Personally, to add a touch of silliness, I regret the omission of Toulouse-Lautrec’s Le polisseur, once owned by Somerset Maugham who is on record that among his guests in Villa Mauresque on the French Riviera only Kenneth Clark could identify the painter[3]. It is a striking canvass, not least because male nudes were rare at the time, and it could have been included. But no book is big enough to cover all mutations of the nude.

This one is rich and rewarding in all sorts of unexpected ways. Thought-provoking touches can come out of the blue, sometimes phrased almost like epigrams, for instance about Leonardo’s Leda: “The exploitation by the intellect of a theme usually governed by the emotions must always be disturbing to a normal sensibility.” Startling parallels are one of Clark’s hallmarks, and plenty of them will you find here. Possibly my favourite is that in the early twentieth century the nude as a vehicle for expressing energy was replaced by something much faster and more furious – the automobile. But I’m glad Clark didn’t pursue the subject further. The closest we have to the nude today is bodybuilding, a unique case in which the artist creates a work of art out of him- or herself? But are these people artists? Are these bodies works of art? What would Clark have said about them? Yes, he was wise to skip the subject! Not the least remarkable thing about Kenneth Clark is that he concentrates exclusively on what he admires. He seldom mentions and never dwells on works that are not worth it.

Clark’s grasp of his subject is so sure and so thorough that he can cross styles and centuries with impunity. While the results are often controversial, they should never be dismissed without consideration. The so-called “Gothic nude”, the one that makes women look perpetually pregnant and all but breastless, might seem too slight a thing to deserve a chapter on its own (“The Alternative Convention”), yet it was finally transformed into Rembrandt’s Bathsheba. It is well-known that the Middle Ages turned the nude from an object of godlike reverence to an emblem of shame, but there must be few works of art that illustrate this better than the bronze reliefs on the Bernwald Doors of the Hildesheim Cathedral. Adam and Eve are traditionally nude, but they have never looked quite so ghastly. Their figures are eerily reminiscent of Holocaust survivors – nine centuries before the event. (That is my opinion, not Clark’s, but the credit for including those bronze reliefs must go to him.) How the antique Hercules became the medieval Samson, how late the Crucifixion became a central symbol in Christian art, and how few original works from Classical Greece have survived in anything but inferior copies – these are just a few examples more of casual Clarkian insights.

I also made mental notes about some obscure (at least to me) names and works worth exploring further. Three among numerous examples will have to do here. Antonio del Pollaiuolo, a mid-15th-century Florentine whose difficult to spell name (Clark spells it “Pollajuolo”) might have something to do with his obscurity, but who anticipated, however crudely, Michelangelo’s nude revolution. The name of Pollaiuolo (whatever the spelling) I had at least heard before. I can’t say the same about Luca Signorelli whose nudes from the late 15th century look strikingly modern. If I ever happen to pass through Orvieto, I know what to look for in the local cathedral. I consider myself, perhaps presumptuously, well familiar with Michelangelo’s works. But Clark convinced me I had neglected the Resurrection drawings from the early 1530s. In fact, one of them showing “The Risen Christ” I had never even seen before. Clark calls it “perhaps the most beautiful nude of ecstasy in the whole of art”.

Last but not least, Clark’s sense of humour, while rather dry and hardly prodigious, is nevertheless quite effective throughout the whole book. An often quoted example concerns the nereids on antique sarcophagi “who balance on tails of tritons [and] must have been studied from nature, for they are in exactly the pose adopted by their daughters in modern Italy who occupy an equally precarious seat on the pillions of motor scooters.” And who could suppress a smile while reading that Cranach (Lucas Cranach the Elder, of all painters!) was “endowed with a sense of chic which should make him the patron saint of all fashion designers.” Then again, looking at Cranach’s Lolita-like versions of Venus and Diana, well, Clark isn’t so wide of the mark after all.

In his preface, Kenneth Clark is surprised that such an important subject like the nude has so far inspired only two general studies of any importance – both of them in German. I don’t know if this has changed much in the 64 years since The Nude was first published. But even if it has, I rather doubt there are many other books that cover 25 centuries with anything like Kenneth Clark’s lucidity, originality and authority. I’m pretty sure The Nude will be clothed in plenty of re-reading and referring to in the future.

Note on the Edition

The illustrations, somewhat disappointingly, are only in black-and-white (the nudes of Rubens and Renoir thus lose much of their beauty), but invariably reproduced in excellent quality and specially chosen to illuminate text. Clark mentions casually in the preface that only one fourth of those considered ended on the pages. One must regret the omissions, but some consolation may be derived from the indisputable fact that they would have made the book impossible to handle. It is big and heavy enough as it is, at least in this handsomely printed but not very easy to handle John Murray edition.

The notes do cite a few sources but are mostly separate essays, rather drier and more heavy-going than the main text. Clark mentions in his preface that the notes were added in the last moment on the insistence of his American publisher. Well, they add nothing to the book.

Appendix: List of Illustrations

I have copied this from the book mostly for my own pleasure and future reference, but it may also be used by the putative reader of the above review to obtain an excellent idea of Clark’s scope and emphasis. I have omitted all whereabouts except a few that might help with the identification and are, hopefully, still accurate. I have added as many useful links as I could find. I understand the Folio Society edition has all illustrations in colour; if so, for once it is worth having.

Chapter divisions: 1-19 The Naked and the Nude; 20-50 Apollo; 51-90 Venus I; 91-123 Venus II; 124-70 Energy; 171-211 Pathos; 212-46 Ecstasy; 247-78 The Alternative Convention; 279-93 The Nude as an End in Itself; 294-8 Notes.

1. Velasquez. Rokeby Venus.
2. Greek. 2nd century B.C. Mirror.
3. Picasso. Bathers.
4. Courbet. ‘La Source.’
5. Rejlander. Photograph.
6. Kyonaga. Colour print.
7. Etruscan Tomb. ‘Il Obeso.’
8. Villard de Honnencourt. Antique figures.
9. Leonardo da Vinci. Vitruvian Man.
10. Cesarino. Vitruvian Man, from the Como Vitrivius.
11. Dürer. Nemesis. Engraving.
12. Dürer. Measured nude.
13. French. 16th century. Bronze cast of Venus of the Belvedere.
14. Memlinc Workshop. Eve.
15. Sansovino. Apollo.
16. Graeco-Roman. Apollo.
17. Attic. 5th century B.C. Palestra scene.
18. 12th-century Austrian (?) MS. Three Graces.
19. Michelangelo. Crucifixion.
20. Attic. c. 600 B.C. Kouros.
21. Attic. 6th century B.C. Apollo of Tenea.
22. ‘Kritios,’ c. 480 B.C. Youth.
23. Magna Grecia. c. 490 B.C. The Apollo of Piombino.
24. After Polyclitus. c. 450 B.C. Doryphoros.
25. After Polyclitus. c. 450 B.C. Diadumenos.
26. After Polyclitus. c. 450 B.C. Torso of the Doryphoros.
27. Greek. ? 4th century B.C. The Idolino.
28. Greek. ? c. 400 B.C. After the Discophoros of Polyclitus.
29. Greek. c. 450 B.C. Apollo.
30. Style of Phidias. Apollo of the Tiber.
31. Praxiteles. c. 350 B.C. Hermes.
32. After Praxiteles. c. 350 B.C. Apollo Sauroctonos.
33. Style of Praxiteles. Bronze Boy from Marathon.
34. Cellini. Perseus.
35. Greek. ? 2nd century B.C. The Apollo Belvedere.
36. Early Christian. 5th century A.D.
37. Nicola Pisano. Fortitudo. Pisa, Baptistery
38. Donatello. David.
39. Perugino. Apollo and Marsyas.
40. Dürer. Apollo.
41. Michelangelo. Nude Youth.
42. Michelangelo. An antique god.
43. Michelangelo. Detail of David.
44. Michelangelo. Creation of Adam.
45. Phidias. c. 435 B.C. Dionysus from Parthenon.
46. Michelangelo. Apollo–David.
47. Michelangelo. Detail from Last Judgment.
48. Poussin. Apollo crowning Virgil, frontispiece to the royal Virgil of 1641.
49. Mengs. Parnassus.
50. Canova. Perseus.
51. Prehistoric. Figure of a woman.
52. Cycladic Doll.
53. Greek. Early 6th century B.C. Venus mirror handle.
54. Attic. 6th century B.C. Black figure vase.
55. Panphaios. c. 500 B.C. Vase (detail).
56. Attic. 5th century B.C. Terra-cotta doll.
57. Greek. 5th century B.C. Torso (replica).
58. Greek. 5th century B.C. Esquiline Venus (replica).
59. Ionian. Early 5th century B.C. Flute player on Ludovisi throne.
60. Ionian. Early 5th century B.C. Venus on Ludovisi throne.
61. Hellenistic. ‘Venus Genetrix.’
62. Greek. c. 400 B.C. Bronze figure of a girl.
63. Greek. c. 400 B.C. Bronze figure of a girl.
64. After Praxiteles. c. 350 B.C. Cnidian Venus.
65. After Praxiteles. c. 350 B.C. Cnidian Venus.
66. Hellenistic. Capitoline Venus.
67. Hellenistic. Medici Venus.
68. Greek. c. 100 B.C. Venus of Milo.
69. Hellenistic. Bronze Venus.
70. Graeco-Roman. Venus of Cyrenaica.
71. Graeco-Roman. Three Graces. Siena
72. Graeco-Roman. Three Graces. Louvre
73. Graeco-Roman. 1st century A.D. Three Graces. Naples
74. Giovanni Pisano. Temperance.
75. Florentine. c. 1420. Marriage tray.
76. Botticelli. Three Graces (detail from Primavera)
77. Botticelli. Birth of Venus (detail).
78. Botticelli. Truth (detail from Calumny of Apelles)
79. Lorenzo di Credi. Venus.
80. Signorelli. Nude (detail from School of Pan).
81. Raphael. Three Graces.
82. Raphael. Leda.
83. Raphael. Adam and Eve.
84. Marcantonio. Adam and Eve.
85. Federighi. Adam and Eve.
86. Raphael. Venus (drawing).
87. Raphael. Kneeling Girl (drawing).
88. Bellini. Woman at her toilet.
89. Giorgione. Venus.
90. Titian. Venus of Urbino.
91. Cesare da Sesto. After Leonardo da Vinci. Leda.
92. Giorgione. ‘Concert Champêtre.’
93. Sebastiano del Piombo. Life drawing of a woman.
94. Titian. Sacred and Profane Love.
95. Titian. Venus.
96. Titian. Venus and the Organ Player.
97. Titian. Danaë.
98. Titian. Diana and Actaeon.
99. Correggio. Jupiter and Antiope.
100. Correggio. Danaë.
101. Bronzino. Allegory of Passion.
102. Ammanati. Venus.
103. Giovanni da Bologna. Astronomy.
104. Rubens. Three Graces.
105. Rubens. Venus and Cupid with Bacchus and Area.
106. Rubens. Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus.
107. Rubens. Perseus and Andromeda.
108. Watteau. Judgment of Paris.
109. Boucher. Miss O’Murphy.
110. Boucher. Diana.
111. Rubens. Life drawing of a woman.
112. Clodion. Nymph and Satyr.
113. Ingres. ‘Baigneuse.’
114. Ingres. Venus Anadyomene.
115. Ingres. ‘La Grande Odalisque.’
116. Ingres. Study for ‘L’Age d’or’.
117. Ingres. ‘Le Bain Turc.’
118. Courbet. ‘L’Atelier du peintre’ (detail).
119. Manet. Olympia.
120. Renoir. ‘Baigneuse au griffon.’
121. Renoir. ‘La Baigneuse blonde.’ Kenneth Clark Collection
122. Renoir. Three Bathers.
123. Renoir. Bather seated.
124. Pan-Athenaic Amphora. 6th century B.C.
125. Attic. c. 480 B.C. Wrestlers.
126. Pollajuolo. Nude men fighting. Engraving.
127. Attic. c. 470 B.C. Bearded God of Histiaea.
128. Attic. c. 440 B.C. Lapith and Centaur, from metope of Parthenon.
129. After Myron. c. 450 B.C. Discobolos (reconstruction).
130. After Myron. c. 450 B.C. Discobolos of Castel Porziano.
131. Michelangelo. Athlete. Vatican, Sistine Chapel
132. Greek. 3rd century B.C. Wrestlers.
133. Attic. c. 440 B.C. Iris from west gable of Parthenon.
134. Workshop of Scopas. c. 350 B.C. An Amazon. From frieze of Mausoleum.
135. Workshop of Scopas. c. 350 B.C. Battle of Greeks and Amazons. From frieze of Mausoleum.
136. Workshop of Scopas. c. 350 B.C. Greeks and Amazons. From frieze of Mausoleum.
137. Workshop of Scopas. c. 350 B.C. Greeks and Amazons. From frieze of Mausoleum.
138. Greek. ? 3rd century B.C. Borghese Warrior.
139. Late Antique. 4th century. Hercules and Stag. Ravenna
140. Tuscan. 12th century. Samson and Lion.
141. Antico. Hercules and Lion.
142. Pollajuolo. Hercules slaying Hydra.
143. Pollajuolo. Hercules and Antaeus [painting].
144. Pollajuolo. Hercules and Antaeus [sculpture].
145. Graeco-Roman. Dancing Faun.
146. Signorelli. Drawing.
147. Signorelli. The Blessed. Orvieto, Cathedral
148. Signorelli. The Damned. Orvieto, Cathedral
149. Bertoldo. Battle piece.
150. Michelangelo. Battle of the Centaurs.
151. After Michelangelo. Copy of cartoon for Battle of Cascina.
152. Michelangelo. Bathing soldier for Cascina cartoon.
153. Michelangelo. Study for Cascina cartoon.
154. Leonardo da Vinci. Muscular legs.
155. Raphael. Men fighting.
156. Michelangelo. Athlete. Vatican, Sistine Chapel
157. Michelangelo. Three Labours of Hercules.
158. Michelangelo. Victory.
159. After Michelangelo. Samson defeating Philistines.
160. Vincenzo Danti. Honour.
161. Giovanni da Bologna. Mercury.
162. Rubens. Abduction of Hippodamia.
163. Greek. 2nd century B.C. Torso of Satyr.
164. Blake. From ‘Europe.’
165. Blake. Glad Day. Colour print.
166. Vitruvian Man from Scamozzi’s ‘Architettura universale’. Venice, 1615.
167. Géricault. Leda.
168. Delacroix. Girls wrestling.
169. Degas. Woman sponging her back. Kenneth Clark Collection
170. Degas. Spartan Girls.
171. Greek. (?) 5th century B.C. Son of Niobe.
172. Greek. (?) 5th century B.C. Daughter of Niobe.
173. Graeco-Roman. Soldier’s Gravestone.
174. Pergamene. 3rd century B.C. Marsyas.
175. ? Pergamene. 2nd century B.C. Laocoön.
176. Rome. (?) 4th century. Crucifixion. Ivory plaque.
177. Constantinople. 10th century. Crucifixion.
178. German. 10th century. Gero Cross.
179. Cimabue. Cross.
180. Masaccio. The Expulsion.
181. Ghiberti. Sacrifice of Isaac.
182. Provencale. 15th century. ‘Pietà’ from Villeneuve-les-Avignon.
183. Donatello. Dead Christ with Angels.
184. Giovanni Bellini. Dead Christ with Angels.
185. Michelangelo. ‘Pietà.’ Rome, St. Peter’s
186. Raphael. Entombment.
187. Michelangelo. Dying Captive.
188. Michelangelo. Struggling Captive.
189. Michelangelo. Athlete. Vatican, Sistine Chapel
190. Michelangelo. Captive. Florence, Accademia
191. Michelangelo. Day. Florence, Medici Chapel
192. Graeco-Roman. The Torso Belvedere.
193. Michelangelo. Night. Florence, Medici Chapel
194. Michelangelo. Dawn. Florence, Medici Chapel
195. Greek. (?) 2nd century. Ariadne.
196. Michelangelo. Crucifixion. British Museum
197. Michelangelo. Crucifixion. British Museum
198. Michelangelo. Crucifixion. Windsor, Royal Library
199. Michelangelo. Palestrina ‘Pietà’ (detail).
200. Michelangelo. ‘Pietà.’ Florence, Cathedral
201. Michelangelo. [Rondanini] ‘Pietà.’ Milan, Castello
202. Rosso Fiorentino. Moses and the Children of Jethro.
203. Titian. St. Sebastian (detail).
204. Caravaggio. Entombment.
205. Rubens. Deposition (detail).
206. Rubens. Three Crosses.
207. Rubens. Mourning over the Dead Christ.
208. Poussin. Death of Narcissus.
209. Poussin. Mourning over the Dead Christ.
210. Delacroix. Barque of Dante.
211. Rodin. Three Shades.
212. Hellenistic. The Borghese Vase.
213. After Callimachus. (?) 4th century B.C. Spartan Girl dancing.
214. After Callimachus. (?) 4th century B.C. Spartan Girl dancing.
215. Graeco-Roman. Three Maenads.
216. After Scopas. 4th century B.C. Maenad.
217. Graeco-Roman. Dionysiac procession.
218. Graeco-Roman. Dionysiac sarcophagus (detail).
219. After Scopas (?). A Tritoness.
220. Graeco-Roman. Nereid sarcophagus. Louvre
221. Graeco-Roman. Nereid sarcophagus. Vatican
222. Late Antique. c. A.D. 350. Silver dish from the Mildenhall Treasure.
223. Graeco-Roman. 1st century A.D. Nereid. Wall painting from Stabia.
224. Late Antique. c. A.D. 380. The Casket of Projecta.
225. Indian. 6th century A.D. Flying Gandharvas.
226. Hans Fries. Last Judgment (detail of a triptych).
227. Lorenzo Maitani.The Creation of Eve. Orvietto, Cathedral
228. Ghiberti. The Creation of Eve. East doors of Baptistery, Florence
229. Pisanello. Luxury.
230. Donatello. Detail from Cantoria.
231. Pollajuolo. Dancing Nudes.
232. Botticelli. The Winds (detail from Birth of Venus).
233. Titian. Bacchus (detail from Bacchus and Ariadne).
234. Titian. Reclining Maenad (detail from Bacchanal).
235. Titian. Europa.
236. Correggio. Io.
237. Lotto. Triumph of Chastity.
238. Bernini. Apollo and Daphne.
239. Raphael. Triumph of Galatea.
240. Carracci. Triumph of Galatea.
241. Poussin. Triumph of Galatea.
242. Carpeaux. Dance. Model for Paris Opera.
243. Matisse. Dance.
244. Michelangelo. Resurrection. Windsor, Royal Library
245. Michelangelo. Risen Christ. British Museum
246. Michelangelo. Resurrection. British Museum
247. Rogier van der Weyden. Last Judgment (detail).
248. German. c. 1235. Adam and Eve.
249. Wiligelmo. c. 1105. Adam and Eve.
250. German. c. 1010. The Fall. Bronze doors.
251. German. c. 1010. The Expulsion. Bronze doors.
252. French. 12th century. Eve. Autun, Cathedral Museum
253. French. 13th century. Last Judgment. Bourges, Cathedral
254. Maitani. Last Judgment. Orvietto, Cathedral
255. De Limbourg. The Fall. ‘Très Riches Heures’
256. Van Eyck. Eve (detail of altar-piece).
257. Van der Goes. Adam and Eve.
258. School of Memling. Vanitas.
259. Bellini. Vanitas.
260. Konrad Meit. Judith.
261. Dürer. Naked Hausfrau.
262. Dürer. Women’s Bath.
263. Dürer. Four Witches.
264. Niklaus Manuel Deutsch. Masked flute player.
265. Urs Graf. Woman stabbing herself.
266. Cranach. Venus and Cupid.
267. Lorenzo Costa. Venus.
268. Cranach. Venus.
269. Cranach. Judgment of Paris.
270. Indian. 8th century. From the painted caves of Ajanta
271. German Pillon (?). Diana of Anet.
272. Rembrandt. Diana. Etching.
273. Rembrandt. Cleopatra.
274. Rembrandt. Old woman bathing her feet. Etching.
275. Rembrandt. Bathsheba.
276. Rodin. ‘La Belle Heaulmière
277. Cézanne. Nude.
278. Rouault. A Prostitute.
279. Greek. c. 438 B.C. Ilissus. From west front of Parthenon.
280. Michelangelo. River god.
281. Doidalsus (?). Early 4th century. Crouching Venus.
282. Pollajuolo. Bowmen (detail from Martyrdom of St. Sebastian).
283. Raphael. Drawing for ‘Disputa’.
284. Marcantonio. Engraving after Raphael. Massacre of the Innocents.
285. Marcantonio. Engraving after Raphael. Judgment of Paris.
286. Matisse. Blue Nude.
287. Matisse. Nude. From ‘Poésies de Mallarmé’.
288. Brancusi. Torso.
289. Picasso. ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’.
290. Picasso. Woman in an armchair.
291. Picasso. Four of the 18 stages of ‘Les Deux Femmes nues’.
292. Henry Moore. Recumbent Figure.
293. Henry Moore. Reclining Figure.
294. Roman. The Emperor Trebonius Gallus.
295. Graeco-Roman. Hermaphrodite.
296. Greek. 5th century. The River Alpheus.
297. Metz. c. 850. The Crucifixion.
298. Boldrini. After Titian. The Monkey Laocoön (woodcut).

_______________________________________________________
[1] The Pisano situation is a little confusing. Nicola Pisano (c. 1220/5 – c. 1284) created the pulpit in the Baptistery. Giovanni Pisano (c. 1250 – c. 1315), his son, created the pulpit in the Cathedral. The buildings are very close to each other, as well as to the famous Leaning Tower, but they are not the same building.
[2] History of Western Philosophy (1946), Book One, Part I, Chapter 1, first paragraph.
[3] W. Somerset Maugham, Purely for My Pleasure, Heinemann, 1962, p. 24. ( )
2 rösta Waldstein | Dec 5, 2020 |
Tremendously rich from beginning to end. Each paragraph contains passages of deep critical observation and unexpected connections. The finest book on art history that I've read. ( )
  le.vert.galant | Nov 19, 2019 |
I've wanted to read this book for years and years. It is a lovely, coherent history of the artistic nude. It speaks of the meanings of certain poses, how they were used and transformed through the ages. Clark uses lots of photographs to give visual references. A wonderful introduction to the study of art. ( )
  Marse | Feb 4, 2019 |
While it's written in a very accessible style, this book is aimed at art historians. If statements like "The ideal form of Apollo scarcely appears again before that false dawn of the Renaissance, Nicola Pisano's pulpit in the Baptistery of Pisa" don't leave you scratching your head about who Pisano was and when that false dawn happened (the book doesn't give even a hint), then you might really get a lot out of it. Amateurs can still enjoy it, but might feel--as I did--that they're missing out on many of Clark's finer points.
1 rösta giovannigf | Feb 5, 2013 |
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Kenneth Clarkprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Smith, Charles SaumarezInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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From the art of the Greeks to that of Renoir and Moore, this work surveys the ever-changing fashions in what has constituted the ideal nude as a basis of humanist form.

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