The Nude in the Renaissance in Europe, 1400–1530, an exhibition that will open at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles
This project endeavors to consider the artistic, cultural, and technical factors that led simultaneously to the rise of naturalistically represented nudes in distinct regions, primarily of Western Europe, and to trace the separate strands of developments that sometimes ran parallel and other times intertwined. Recent scholarship has increasingly acknowledged the significance of the complex web of travel and cultural exchanges that connected artists and patrons across Europe during this period. For example, Italian patrons collected paintings of sensual female nudes from Northern Europe before Italian artists started producing such works. At the same
The Nude in the Renaissance in Europe, 1400–1530 and its scholarly catalog will explore the subject thematically across five broad categories as a means of demonstrating the parallel artistic developments described above. They are “Nudity and Christian Art”; “Artistic Practice and Theory”; “Humanism, the Classical Revival, and the Expansion of Secular Themes”; “The Abject Nude”; and “Personalizing the Nude.” The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professorship has afforded me the opportunity to pursue several avenues of research toward the writing of my catalog contributions, the refinement of the content and organization of the catalog, and the completion of the exhibition checklist. In “Before Fontainebleau: The Origins of the Nude in French Art, 1400–1500,” a lecture given at the National Gallery of Art in May, I argued that certain French artists outside Italy consciously adapted the nude as subject matter over the course of the fifteenth century, and I considered how their choices intersected or departed from the new attitudes and practices being shaped in Italy by a burgeoning humanism. The lecture and responses to it from colleagues are shaping the arguments of my essay for the exhibition catalog.