Today is the launch of The Wallace Collection’s newest exhibit The Male Nude: Eighteenth Century Drawings from the Paris Academy.
Running until January 19, 2014, this exhibit focuses on 40 masterpieces from the Académie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture in Paris by artists including Rigaud, Boucher, Nattier, Pierre, and Jean-Baptiste Isabey.
From the Wallace collection website:
Painting in eighteenth-century France before the Revolution was centred on the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture which had been founded in 1648. The purpose of the Academy was to train the most important artists and to provide them with the raw materials for successful history painting, which was by far the most esteemed genre. Budding painters or sculptors would be apprenticed to a master, but much of their training would take place at the Academy where the drawing of the male human figure was at the core of the curriculum. Only after mastering the copying of drawings and engravings, and then casts of antique sculptures, would the student be allowed to progress to drawing the nude figure in the life class. The drawings they produced were so associated with the Academy that they came to be known as académies.
Paul Holberton Publishing has released an accompanying volume also named The Male Nude: Eighteenth-Century Drawings from the Paris Academy.
This publication is introduced with three essays by distinguished scholars, as well as the 40 masterpieces.
Variety and beauty are omnipresent. The works show figures – sometimes single, sometimes two together – in an enormous variety of poses and in various degrees of light and shade. The study of physiognomic expression was also taught at the Academy, and the facial expressions of the figures always complement the poses they adopt, whether they show serenity, exertion, pleasure or anger.
You can purchase your own copy of The Male Nude here.