Download The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form (A.W. Mellon Lectures in by Kenneth Clark PDF

By Kenneth Clark

Moment quantity within the AW Mellon Lectures in tremendous Arts, given on the nationwide Gallery of artwork in Washington.

The Bollingen sequence is a smart piece of scholarship, with monographs spanning many components of arts, tradition, and philosophy.

From the paintings of the Greeks to that of Renoir and Moore, this paintings surveys the ever-changing models in what has constituted the suitable nude as a foundation of humanist form.

"The uncomplicated and sometimes rather attractive assertion of a guy of letters . . . [in] a publication that is as a lot a excitement to learn because it is informative and provocative."--The manhattan Times

"A feminist critique of a male (and Western) view of the Tantric culture [and additionally] a balanced reassessment of a convention too lengthy misunderstood."--Parabola

"Probably not anyone else alive this present day writes approximately paintings with Sir Kenneth's special blend of intelligence, urbanity, and erudition. . . . this can be a tremendous booklet and a desirable one, and the illustrations do a lot to light up it."--The New Yorker

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Additional resources for The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form (A.W. Mellon Lectures in Fine Arts) (Bollingen Series XXXV-2)

Example text

A great many assumptions underlie this statement, the chief of which is that everything has an ideal form of which the phenomena of experience are more or less I 12 THE NAKED AND THE NUDE corrupted replicas. This beautiful fancy has teased the minds of philosophers and writers on aesthetics for over two thousand years, and although we need not plunge into a sea of speculation, we cannot discuss the nude with­ out considering its practical application, because every time we criticize a figure, saying that a neck is too long, hips are too wide or breasts too small, we are admitting, in quite concrete terms, the existence of ideal beauty.

All these have vanished. They live no longer in the fa ith of reason. The academic nudes of the nineteenth century are lifeless because they no longer embodied real human needs and experiences. They were among the hundreds of devalued symbols that encum­ bered the art and architecture of the utilitarian century. The nude had flourished most exuberantly during the first hundred years of the classical Renaissance, when the new appetite for antique imagery overlapped the medieval habits of sym­ bolism and personification.

And during the Middle Ages there would have been ample I opportunity to introduce it both into profane decoration and into such sacred ' subjects as show the beginning and the end of our existence. Why, then, does it never appear? An illuminating answer is to be found in the notebook of the thirteenth-century architect, Villard de Honnecourt. This contains many beautiful drawings of draped figures, some of them showing a high degree of skill. But when Villard draws two nude figures Qs] in what he believes to be the antique style the result is painfully ugly.

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