May 10 – July 27, 2008
For centuries, the nude body was the highest expression of human aspiration. Religious figures, gods and goddesses, heroes and even personifications of abstract ideals were made visible in the undraped human figure. The Language of the Nude: Four Centuries of Drawing the Human Body, an exhibition of nearly 60 rarely seen drawings from the Crocker Art Museum, examines the nude, its place in the artist's process, and the ideals and desires it expressed in European art.
Divided into four sections, the show traces the development of life drawing and its uses in Italy, the Netherlands, France and Germany from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Likewise, it explores the language of line, pose and gesture that the nude embodies in narrative, ranging from the Crucifixion to the Judgment of Paris to episodes from national epics. Featuring beautiful works by well- and little-known artists, this exhibition includes a mid-16th-century male nude after Michelangelo's Last Judgment, Jacques-Louis David's Funeral of a Hero and Albrecht Dürer's Female Nude with a Staff.