Edited by Thomas Kren with Jill Burke and Stephen J. Campbell
Assisted by Andrea Herrera and Thomas DePasquale
Reflecting an era when Europe looked to both the classical past and a global future, this volume explores the emergence and acceptance of the nude as an artistic subject. It engages with the numerous and complex connotations of the human body in more than 250 artworks by the greatest masters of the Renaissance. Paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, and book illustrations reveal private, sometimes shocking preoccupations as well as surprising public beliefs—the Age of Humanism from an entirely new perspective.
This book presents works by Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Martin Schongauer in the north and Donatello, Raphael, and Giorgione in the south; it also introduces names that deserve to be known better. A publication this rich in scholarship could only be produced by a variety of expert scholars; the sixteen contributors are preeminent in their fields and wide-ranging in their knowledge and curiosity. The structure of the volume—essays alternating with shorter texts on individual artworks— permits studies both broad and granular. From the religious to the magical and the poetic to the erotic, encompassing male and female, infancy, youth, and old age, The Renaissance Nude examines in a profound way what it is to be human.
This volume was published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center October 30, 2018, to January 27, 2019, and at the Royal Academy of Arts London in the United Kingdom February 26 to June 2, 2019.
Thomas Kren is an independent scholar and adjunct professor of art history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He founded the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Department of Manuscripts in 1983. Jill Burke is a senior lecturer in art history at the University of Edinburgh. Stephen J. Campbell is the Henry and Elizabeth Wiesenfeld Professor and acting chair of the Department of the History of Art at Johns Hopkins University.
“With discussions geared toward the research community, The Renaissance Nude is a worthwhile addition to any academic, museum, or research library collection. Its value is augmented by a full panoply of scholarly apparatus, including endnotes to each essay and catalogue entry, exhibition citations for all objects in the catalogue, an exhaustive list of reference citations, image credits, and an index.”
“We are lucky that a landmark exhibition like The Renaissance Nudefound its match in its catalogue. This compilation of scholarship and bibliography is a gift to anyone interested in the history of representation and theorization of the body. The large, crisp reproductions are gifts for anyone at all: framing the art more expertly and productively than even an internet-image-search adept, this catalogue lets the nudes do their various work. And they do still work, not through transhistorical beauty, not the way they did centuries ago, but through a complex inheritance this book capaciously and complexly acknowledges.”
“With its extensive bibliography, index, and rich essays, plus 112 detailed individual object entries, this catalogue offers great resources to scholars and students.”
—Historians of Netherlandish Art Reviews
“ . . . destined to become a standard work in art history. . . “
“Elegant, exquisite, erudite, scholarly, informative, profusely and beautifully illustrated, exceptionally well organized and presented, The Renaissance Nude is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, college, and university library European Art History collections in general, and Renaissance Art History supplemental studies lists in particular.”
—Midwest Book Review
“The most impressive of the recent deluge of books on the subject . . . Readable, informative and sometimes startling . . . ”
—The Art Newspaper
“This catalog will be appreciated by studio artists, art historians, and interested readers.”
“This catalogue makes an intelligent and comprehensive introduction to the various roles of the nude in Renaissance art.”
—Alexander Adams Art
“ . . . fantastic, richly readable . . . ”
—Tyler Green, The Modern Arts Notes Podcast