The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Monogrammist "G.M." __ Mutter und Kind, Study for an Altar-piece 1925, Dresden

This beautifully expressive and energetic sketch came out of a Dresdin Auction House several years ago. I was immediately drawn to the energy in the line and the subject matter. One of my side collections includes 17th and 18th century prints of the Deposition of Christ. I do not have many in my collection but the ones I do have are beautiful expressions of the semi-nude Christ. I will scan them and post them later for you. The subject matter (The Deposition of the body of the yet to be risen Christ) offered the artist of the 17th and 18th centuries a fine opportunity to use the male nude as the center of a religious composition. The below composition centers around that nude ephebe and the resultant vulnerability of his exposure to the observers eye, and even more subtly, of events yet to effect that nude body, the pain and suffering that seems so detached from that innocent young boy. There is so much going on in this composition it is a shame the artist did not sign his work for posterity so that we may give him his full due. I guess there is a lesson there for artists: sign your work. It really is a beautifully executed study. I recently ordered and received a book that I hope will answer some of the nagging questions I have about the depiction of the Christ child nude. You see that particular motif everywhere. The book can be ordered from Amazon in case you are interested. The title is: "The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion" by Leo Steinberg (University of Chicago Press...ISBN 0-226-77186-3). This subject matter (the Nude Christ) is so complicated it took an entire book to try to explain it (it surprised the heck out of me that there are even depictions of the mature Christ and the nude Christ Child with a perceived erection- It's called the erection motif). Never say never in art. Just as soon as you say it someone will prove you wrong.

Caption: Mutter und Kind (Nude prepatory drawing for an altarwork)
Artist: Monogrammist "G.M"
Medium: Graphite pencil on paper
Dated: 1925