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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Splendor, Myth & Vision: Nudes from the Prado at the Clark Art Institute

This summer's exhibit is Splendor, Myth and Vision: Nudes from the Prado.  This selection of nudes, painted in the 1500s and 1600s, came under intense scrutiny from the Catholic Church.  The human form was considered to be an unfit art theme.  Works that officials wanted restricted, and even destroyed, were treasured and collected by Spain's kings.

Fortunately, the paintings were left in tact and visitors to The Clark are able to see these "lewd, immoral" masterpieces from a bygone era.

Sight & Smell (1618 - 1623) by Flemish artists Jan Brueghel the Elder, Frans Francken II
Hendrik van Balen, Jan Brueghel the Younger & others is an introduction 
to the artwork Eric & I are about to explore.

We will be viewing paintings with mythological, religious and historic themes.  Some works are set in beautiful landscapes, making nature a major theme.  Some paintings are focused soley on the individual(s) in the work.  My favorites:

Cleopatra, with the fatal asp
at her breast, was painted by
Guido Reni in 1640.

Flemish artists Denis van Alsloot & Hendrick de Clerck made nature a major
theme in Landscape with Diana and Actaeon, painted in 1608.

The Christian martyr,
subject of this Guido
Reni painting
(1617 - 1619).

"Contemporary" & classic mythology co-exist in Venus with an Organist & Cupid
painted by Titian (Tiziano Vecelli) from 1550 to 1555. 

The revelry of a Bacchic Scene
is captured by Nicolas Poussin
(1626 - 1628).

The grandeur of nature leaps off the canvas in Paul Bril's Landscape of Psyche & Jupiter
with later additions by Peter Paul Rubens (1610 & after 1625).

Rubens' Fortuna is a
 celebration of the
 female form
 (1636 - 1638).

The faces in Jacob Jordaens' The Marriage of Peleus & Thetis (1636 - 38) shows
 that every celebration is fraught with tension & undercurrents.

Death of Nessus by Luca Giordano
(1696 - 1697) is one of the
mythical themes the Catholic
Church disapproved of.
The Clark Art Institute hosts unique exhibits every year and the Nudes from the Prado are magnifico!

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