It is one of art’s oldest subjects – and often its most controversial.
In a partnership between Tate, London and the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney, Nude: art from the Tate collection presents over 100 major representations of the nude, including paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints by renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Lucian Freud, Henri Matisse, Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas and Sarah Lucas.
At the heart of the show lies the world’s most famous image of erotic love, Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The kiss 1901-04. Never before has this work from Tate’s collection left Europe. Other notable works include Pierre Bonnard’s The bath 1925, Picasso’s Nude woman in a red armchair 1932, Sylvia Sleigh’s Paul Rosano reclining 1974, Ron Mueck’s Wild man 2005 and Rineke Dijkstra’s Julie, Den Haag, Netherlands, February 29 1994.
Each artist in the exhibition offers a different way of looking at the naked human body. Some look tenderly; some idealise it; some look anxiously or politically. Together they show how the nude in art has persisted yet changed, shifting shape and acquiring new meanings in the hands of successive generations, from the idealising painters of the Victorian era to the artist-provocateurs of our time.
Nude: art from the Tate collection is a spectacular tour through many major art movements, including romanticism, cubism, expressionism, realism, surrealism and feminism. It is also a story of beauty, truth, desire, vulnerability and human drama.
The presentation of this exhibition is a collaboration between Tate and the Art Gallery of NSW, and part of the 2016-17 Sydney International Art Series.