Drawing inspiration from classical sculpture and the study of the live model, Renaissance artists made the nude central to their art, creating lifelike, vibrant, and varied representations of the human body. This transformative moment is one that would shape the course of European art history and resonate through the present day. On view at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
The shroud-like emptiness that surrounds the portrait transforms the marvel into something as mystical as it is material — a fiery figment of the imagination; a vision; a prayer.
From the s onwards the Protestant Reformation reduced the demand for religious painting in some parts of Germany and Switzerland. The violent destruction of such works in Basel in hastened the return of Hans Holbein to the court of Henry VIII in London, where he went on to produce portraits combining psychological insight with dazzling illusionistic skill. As well as portraits, court artists painted pictures with nude figures based on classical mythology.
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