Wednesday, 25 August 2010

‘Bather Arranging her Hair’ - Renoir

renoir42 Bather Arranging her Hair, 1893
92.5 x 74 cm, Oil on canvas

Every nude is striking. Renoir’s more so than most.

But what makes this—or Praxitiles’ Aphrodite of last night—a nude rather than just being naked?

Kenneth Clark used to say that nakedness is you or me getting out of the bath, whereas a nude is altogether more stylised. Nudes are “ideal forms of art,” he maintained, while naked bodies are just their embarrassing, real-life counterparts. But Kenneth Clark was a prude.

William Blake chose his words carefully when he said “Art can never exist without naked beauty displayed.” He meant that in every sense. An artist sees all of reality naked, and then paints it.  The nude is one very important, and delightful, part of that.

Thank goodness.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, thank goodness! I love that Renoir. You know, I sit in front of a nude for 6 hours a day drawing or painting. It never even occurs to me that I am sitting in front of someone naked. All I see is the beauty in nature. How it solves problems so elegantly and gracefully...the subtle patterns. It never fails to surprise.
    Jasmine Kamante


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