Bronzino (Agnolo di Cosimo di Mariano), Portrait of a young Man as Saint Sebastian, ca. 1533. Oil on panel. 87 x 76.5 cm.
The Renaissance Nude traces the development of the nude through some of the great masters of the Renaissance. Bringing together works by artists such as Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Dürer and Cranach, it sheds light on a visual tradition at its most vital moment.
The 15th and 16th centuries were a pivotal time for the nude in Western art. A renewed interested in ancient Greek and Roman art brought the human body to the forefront of artistic innovation. Artists on both sides of the Alps – Perugino, Pollaiuolo and Gossaert among others – were copying from classical models, experimenting with naturalistic approaches, as well as exploring new, non-religious subject matter.
At the same time, the nude was transforming Christian art, encouraging modern and dynamic representations of age-old themes, from the story of Adam and Eve to the crucifixion.
This spectacular exhibition explores these important changes in a selection of exquisite works. From full-scale paintings to jewel-like illustrations, bronze statuettes to anatomical studies, they contrast idealised beauty with the ageing body, and public images with more intimate, private works.
Together, they offer an insight into a visual tradition that became central to European art, which still resonates with artists and audiences today.