NEWPORT.- An exhibition of drawings, prints, painting and sculpture guest curated by John Wilson and Roger Cucksey and running until September 20 opened at the Newport Museum and Art Gallery in South Wales. The Art of the Nude THE ART OF THE NUDE frames the artistic genre of the nude and provides a fascinating thread through the history of art. The study of the nude formed the basis of the post-Renaissance academic tradition of "Western Art", whilst the departures of modernism and the avant garde likewise saw a persistence of the nude as a vital genre for the artist's exploration. Whither the nude in today's world of CGI and the Internet?
The selection brings together a diverse body of works with a lively conception of the subject of the nude. The large-scale exhibition of 85 works - 28 drawings, 12 prints, 39 paintings and 6 works of sculpture - includes the following prominent artists: Auguste Rodin, Henry Gaudier-Brzeska, William Blake, Sir Edward J. Poynter, Sir Gerald Kelly, Sir William Russell Flint R.A, Peter Blake, Allen Jones, Sir William Goscombe John R.A. , Ceri Richards, Merlyn Evans, Thomas Rathmell, Harry Holland, Angelica Kauffman R.A, Dame Laura Knight R.A. , Elinor Bellingham-Smith and Gerda Roper.
The show reflects upon: the central place of the nude in the history of art, the nude as a highly productive genre for the artist's exploration and the sometimes controversial role of the nude as a mediator of aesthetic taste and cultural mores across the generations.
The nude occupies a central place in the history of art and has persisted as an absorbing subject for the artist from the Classical to the Renaissance, Modernist and Post-Modernist art worlds.
In recent decades, revisionist art historical studies have unmasked and re-appraised the nude as a genre of art - critically, raising issues of visual representation, gender and social power; and positively, re-connecting with a history of artistic innovation through this abiding genre of the art school and the artist's studio.
In recent years the nude and the life-class have experienced something of a revival in British art colleges, notwithstanding the post-60's Crisis of British Art, radical art politics and a rejection of the life-room.
The Art of the Nude is the third project in the Explorations series, which provides a frame to explore the diverse range of artists, genre and art historical periods represented in the Newport Museum and Art Gallery collections.