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Body Ideal and The Suffering Body - The Nude in Early Modern Italian Art   iCal entry for this event

Tutor: Kasia Murawska-Muthesius



These four seminars will be held on MONDAY AFTERNOONS from 2pm-4pm

They will start on 23rd October and run for four weeks until 13th November 2017



As claimed by Kenneth Clark, the nude is not the subject of art, ‘but an art form, invented by the Greeks in the fifth century BC, just as opera is an art form invented in seventeenth-century Italy’. These four weekly meetings, run as seminars rather than lectures, will re-examine this statement in a small group of around twenty participants. We will begin by looking at the centrality of the nude in the art of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque, its alignment with the notion of the ideal beauty, and its lofty academic credentials as the demonstration of mastery. The following seminars will depart from the concept of the nude as ‘pure form’ to examine the representation of the naked body, both male and female, as a vessel to convey ideas, emotions, passions and religious beliefs, as well as gender hierarchies and the shifting rules of conduct. We will revisit the iconic nudes of Early Modern Italian art, discussing them as ‘texts’, as the expressions of power, virtuosity, fertility and eroticism, but also as the most poignant visualisations of suffering, despair, submissiveness, disease, rape, pain and death. Among the artists discussed will be Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Michelangelo, Giorgione, Titian, Annibale and Agostino Carracci, Caravaggio, Bernini, and Artemisia Gentileschi. 


23rd October             Body Beautiful: The Nude and the Naked

30th October             The Heroic Body

6th November           The Suffering Body

13th November         The Body of Love and the Body of Rape 


THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. Members may apply for one of the limited number of WAITING LIST  places. NO PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE. If a place becomes available, the waiting list will be contacted in order and payment will be requested at that time. Please contact the event organiser if in doubt.


Dr Kasia Murawska-Muthesius teaches art history at Birkbeck, University of London. She was Curator of Italian Paintings and Deputy Director of The National Museum in Warsaw, and Guest Professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her publications include Trionfo barocco (1990) and From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum (2015, with Piotr Piotrowski). Her current research is on caricature.


Location: Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD


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Description Date Start time End time Availability Places
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WAITING LIST no payment yet 23-10-2017 closed
Members only 23-10-2017 14:00 16:00 closed full