web site hit counter The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form

Availability: Ready to download

From the art of the Greeks to that of Renoir and Moore, this work surveys the ever-changing fashions in what has constituted the ideal nude as a basis of humanist form.


Compare

From the art of the Greeks to that of Renoir and Moore, this work surveys the ever-changing fashions in what has constituted the ideal nude as a basis of humanist form.

30 review for The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form

  1. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is a book for someone who sees Hercules and the Lion and thinks "look at how the artist is evoking the body's movement with the movement in the cloak" and not "I like the gold pubes!" Bits: "The drift of all popular art is towards the lowest common denominator, and, on the whole, there are more women whose bodies look like a potato than like the Knidian Aphrodite." On Sacred and Profane Love: "Titian has even broken the line of the arm by a cast of crimson drapery exactly where it would have b This is a book for someone who sees Hercules and the Lion and thinks "look at how the artist is evoking the body's movement with the movement in the cloak" and not "I like the gold pubes!" Bits: "The drift of all popular art is towards the lowest common denominator, and, on the whole, there are more women whose bodies look like a potato than like the Knidian Aphrodite." On Sacred and Profane Love: "Titian has even broken the line of the arm by a cast of crimson drapery exactly where it would have been broken by time." "(One of Courbet's nudes) was intended to provoke and succeeded imperially, for Napoleon III struck at her with his riding crop." "The skin was to Rubens almost what the muscles had been to Michelangelo." "Roots and bulbs, pulled up into the light, give us for a moment a feeling of shame. They are pale, defenceless, unself-supporting. They have the formless character of life which has been both protected and oppressed. In the darkness their slow, biological gropings have been contrary to the quick, resolute movements of free creatures, bird, fish or dancer, flashing through a transparent medium, and have made them baggy, scraggy and indeterminate. Looking at a group of naked figures in a Gothic painting or a miniature, we experience the same sensation. The bulb-like women and root-like men seem to have been dragged out of the protective darkness in which the human body had lain muffled for a thousand years."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Just over one year ago I slowly walked through the "Art of the Ancient World" collection at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with a previous girlfriend. Filled with many nude portraits and stone sculptures, it represented pretty much everything that did not interest either of us. I'm not sure why but this type of art never appealed to me; I now realize I just needed to take a closer look. Our largely negative attitude toward the nude inspired me to discover if I couldn't unearth the underlying rea Just over one year ago I slowly walked through the "Art of the Ancient World" collection at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with a previous girlfriend. Filled with many nude portraits and stone sculptures, it represented pretty much everything that did not interest either of us. I'm not sure why but this type of art never appealed to me; I now realize I just needed to take a closer look. Our largely negative attitude toward the nude inspired me to discover if I couldn't unearth the underlying reasons. Clark takes you into a whole different world. Having never studied any type of art, the deep complexity this field has to offer took me wholly by surprise. Studying the evolution of beauty has utterly changed my perception of the human body as well as the modern representation of beauty. This came as very welcome relief (PUN) as the modern evolution of the nude, though different in its representation of past periods, shares many of its patterns. Digital post production has given artists an unparalleled, newfound power that today at least accentuates extremes, as a harrowing look at the modern pornography industry easily confirms. But just as in the past, the pendulum might swing back and this new power might be grounded in more subtle directions that would prevail for a time until some new, novel fashion speeds things forward. To take the opposite approach, leaning on the history of the rise (too easy) of the female hip as an example, this recent extremism may just be the beginning of an astoundingly unsubtle expression. A Study in Ideal Form has given me a new lens through which to enjoy this complex evolution.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Spencer

    This is what I took away: it was all about nude men for a while because of the greeks predilections, but eventually nude women were depicted. AND "since the earliest times the obsessive, unreasonable nature of human desire has sought relief in images, and to give these images a form by which Venus may cease to be vulgar and become celestial" AND There have been some key variations on the theme; the celebratory ideal, the stretched out mannerist, the Rubenesque, the shameful gothic, the impressionist This is what I took away: it was all about nude men for a while because of the greeks predilections, but eventually nude women were depicted. AND "since the earliest times the obsessive, unreasonable nature of human desire has sought relief in images, and to give these images a form by which Venus may cease to be vulgar and become celestial" AND There have been some key variations on the theme; the celebratory ideal, the stretched out mannerist, the Rubenesque, the shameful gothic, the impressionistic, the abstract. AND "no nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling, even though it be only the faintest shadow - if it does not so, it is bad art and false morals" SO Clearly an old school gent who not only believes in the canon but in an erotic litmus test. Well, maybe there is something to it. And if he can better appreciate art by having it explained in a bajillion pages, more power to him. But for me, the academy tends to put a buzzkill on art. Its beauty (mostly)! Just shut up and let the magic happen. UMM Did you ever feel like your calling in life was to take pictures of nude women? In elementary school I remember for a time I wanted this to be the case. Then I read "my name is asher lev" during high school and the feeling stayed for several years but the impulse faded like how a starved plant withers. That may have been for the best. Now I nurture my artistic longings by greasing escalator sprockets.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Austin Burbridge

    A must read; a touchstone — A great book, which, by way of discussing one art form, anatomises the study of art, one might even say, the philosophy of art. If you can only ever read one book on art, this is it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Iron Mike

    Excellent book! Bought this years ago after I bought The Naked Nude, which referenced this book so often in the first few pages. Took a while before I started this one but so happy I did. Clark was an expert art critic and his prose is wonderful. If I weren't in the middle of COVID and new puppy and a couple other books, I would have read this straight through. I will read The Naked Nude next. For Dewey, this one is: 757. Bought this one used at AbeBooks for $19.95, putting the 2020 book expenses Excellent book! Bought this years ago after I bought The Naked Nude, which referenced this book so often in the first few pages. Took a while before I started this one but so happy I did. Clark was an expert art critic and his prose is wonderful. If I weren't in the middle of COVID and new puppy and a couple other books, I would have read this straight through. I will read The Naked Nude next. For Dewey, this one is: 757. Bought this one used at AbeBooks for $19.95, putting the 2020 book expenses to $155.46.

  6. 5 out of 5

    cara

    When browsing through the Art and Art History section of my local second-hand bookshop, I stumbled across The Nude by Kenneth Clarke, a book that had been a part of our required course readings in first year that I had been unable to find upon the shelves of the library. Needless to say, at the price of R15, I thought to buy the battered copy and see what I had missed. The Nude is a book dedicated to mapping out the history of the nude in the Western art canon, from the Ancient Greeks to the Neoc When browsing through the Art and Art History section of my local second-hand bookshop, I stumbled across The Nude by Kenneth Clarke, a book that had been a part of our required course readings in first year that I had been unable to find upon the shelves of the library. Needless to say, at the price of R15, I thought to buy the battered copy and see what I had missed. The Nude is a book dedicated to mapping out the history of the nude in the Western art canon, from the Ancient Greeks to the Neoclassicists, examining and explaining how the nude had evolved from the style of the Archaic period to the looser, less controlled forms of the post-Renaissance. As someone who might have a decent understanding of the Western art canon, but not of the theory and the more intricate details, I did find the book to be incredibly interesting in some respects, such as how the Western nude had to evolve from a rigid form, to the looser, freer forms that we see today. It was illuminating to learn that certain poses had to be, supposedly, invented; see for example the contrapposto. It was fascinating to learn about how the representations of the nude could be traced back through time, to see and know how the representations evolved over the centuries. However, it could be quite frustrating in some respects. Clarke is quite clearly an old-school art historian who will casually throw out dates and references that he expects the reader to understand implicitly; he will often use many French phrases, to the point where half a paragraph will be in French. This does a disservice to the reader, as even if one were to take the time to translate it, many of the nuances would be lost. I found it quite difficult to swallow the idea that many such poses and forms could be labeled and neatly slotted into a pigeon-hole, but then, that is something that seems to be quite common amongst the study of the Western tradition. I would believe that it would be a matter of convenience for it to be so, if not for the fact that Clarke does not care to make things easy for the reader. Despite what issues and confusions I had with The Nude, I don’t regret taking the time to read it; I took away a fair bit of knowledge from it, and not only that of art history, but also of general European history, politics, religion, and ideology. I would give The Nude a 7/10.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    Bought this whilst a monk back in 1968. (I recall some monkish friends being very scandalised!!) Have looked at the pictures, read captions and copied and used illustrations but have NEVER read it!!! Hopefully recording this may get me to finally READ the text!!! I wonder if such a text can ever get outmoded. Some of the English TV Art Programs are hosted by some real little egotists who consider themselves more important than the art they're discussing, tell blantant lies, or do second-rate research!! Bought this whilst a monk back in 1968. (I recall some monkish friends being very scandalised!!) Have looked at the pictures, read captions and copied and used illustrations but have NEVER read it!!! Hopefully recording this may get me to finally READ the text!!! I wonder if such a text can ever get outmoded. Some of the English TV Art Programs are hosted by some real little egotists who consider themselves more important than the art they're discussing, tell blantant lies, or do second-rate research!!! and love to disparage the artists. Simon Schama i think escapes all these accusations. I feel sure Sir Kenneth Clark will also escape being a gentleman and a scholar in the best sense. The Times have fallen on Hard Times, I fear.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Smith

    A joy. If you are like me, a person who enjoys art but without formal training, then this book will be a pleasure from beginning to end. Clark takes you through a number of topics and themes and provdes a discourse aimed at the intelligent reader leading you from each masterpiece to the next highlighting aspects of interest that may be easily missed. As such he is an expert guide and this book is a joy and not to be missed. Highly recommended.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYHCVt... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYHCVt...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Relstuart

    I try to dabble in reading outside my normal interests occasionally and art and art history is a bit outside my lane. A big reason I picked this book is the fact that it's a Folio Society book and I saw it for sale at a price far below normal. The author tells us this study of the history of the nude human form in art was written in part to respond to this issue: "The dwindling appreciation of of antique art during the last fifty years has greatly impoverished our understanding of art in general I try to dabble in reading outside my normal interests occasionally and art and art history is a bit outside my lane. A big reason I picked this book is the fact that it's a Folio Society book and I saw it for sale at a price far below normal. The author tells us this study of the history of the nude human form in art was written in part to respond to this issue: "The dwindling appreciation of of antique art during the last fifty years has greatly impoverished our understanding of art in general; and professional writers on classical archeology, microscopically re-examining their scanty evidence, have not helped us to understand why it was that for four hundred years artists and amateurs shed tears of admiration before works which arouse no tremor of emotion in us." In short, this now classic art appreciation text reviews the history of the nude form in art as one of the most important parts of classic art. The author discusses the reaction to the nude form and why it has been and is an appropriate part of how art is created and displayed. Growing up in a very conservative family the unclothed human form was viewed as a bad thing - worthy of only private eroticism between two married people or public scorn. While I've been aware that antique/classical art contained nudes I don't know that I really wondered much about why they were so common until I visited the American Library of Congress. There are nude women everywhere built into the decor as a repeating motif. This art choice was meant for the public and represents a very different worldview on what is art and good. Indeed there was a significant period of Church history where the Roman Catholic church was comfortable with nude figures as appropriate decor even within their cathedrals - a far cry from from the ideas about humanity and beauty I was raised with. Some comments that stood out - "...in our Diogenes search for physical beauty our instinctive desire is not imitate but to perfect. This is part of our Greek inheritance, and it was formulated by Aristotle with his usual deceptive simplicity. 'Art, he says, 'completes what nature cannot bring to a finish. The artist gives us knowledge of of nature unrealized ends' A great many assumptions underlie this statement, the chief of which is that everything has an ideal form of which the phenomena of experience are more or less corrupted replicas. This beautiful fancy has teased the minds of philosophers and writers on aesthetics for over two thousand years, and although we need not plunge into a seas of speculation, we cannot discuss without considering its practical application, because every time we criticise a figure, saying the neck is too long, hips too wide, or breasts too small, we are admitting, in quote concrete terms, the existence of ideal beauty." "It is through facial expression that every intimacy begins. This is true of the classic nude, where the head often seems to be no more than an element in the geometry of the figure and the expression is reduced to a minimum. In fact, try as e will to expunge all individuality in the interests of the whole, our responses to facial expression are so sensitive that the slightest accent gives a suggestion of mood or inner life." "In the first centuries of Christianity many causes had combined to bury the nude. The Jewish element in Christian thought condemned all human images as involving a breach of the second commandment, an pagan idols were were particularly dangerous because, in the opinion of the early church, they were not simply pieces of profane sculpture, but were the abode of devils who had cunningly assumed the shapes and names of beautiful human beings. The fact that these god and goddesses were, for the most part, naked gave to nudity a a diabolical association which it long retained." "Art is justified, as man is justified by the faculty of forming ideas...." "Is there, after all any reason why certain quasi-geometrical shapes should be satisfying except that they are simplified statements of the forms that please us in a woman's body? - A shape, like a word, has innumerable associations which vibrate in the memory, and any attempt to explain it by a single analogy is as futile as the translation of a poem."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Giovanni Garcia-Fenech

    While it's written in a very accessible style, this book is aimed at art historians. If statements like "The ideal form of Apollo scarcely appears again before that false dawn of the Renaissance, Nicola Pisano's pulpit in the Baptistery of Pisa" don't leave you scratching your head about who Pisano was and when that false dawn happened (the book doesn't give even a hint), then you might really get a lot out of it. Amateurs can still enjoy it, but might feel--as I did--that they're missing out on While it's written in a very accessible style, this book is aimed at art historians. If statements like "The ideal form of Apollo scarcely appears again before that false dawn of the Renaissance, Nicola Pisano's pulpit in the Baptistery of Pisa" don't leave you scratching your head about who Pisano was and when that false dawn happened (the book doesn't give even a hint), then you might really get a lot out of it. Amateurs can still enjoy it, but might feel--as I did--that they're missing out on many of Clark's finer points.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tosca Wijns-Van Eeden

    Written as a bunch of lectures, some a bit outdated, but an interesting view on the beauty of the nude and the human form in general

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris Duval

    Reading this book will improve the reader-as-viewer. One's notice is drawn to artistically important specifics of images that would otherwise be missed or else sensed only as a gestalt. And these specifics, and their combinations, are woven into an artistic and more broadly cultural history. This history is made more comprehensible through a series of iterations that explore a them (e.g., pathos) from classical to at least the 19th century. And its quite readable. Caveat: The scope is nearly limi Reading this book will improve the reader-as-viewer. One's notice is drawn to artistically important specifics of images that would otherwise be missed or else sensed only as a gestalt. And these specifics, and their combinations, are woven into an artistic and more broadly cultural history. This history is made more comprehensible through a series of iterations that explore a them (e.g., pathos) from classical to at least the 19th century. And its quite readable. Caveat: The scope is nearly limited to western Europe, and mostly to eras of at least 100 years ago. I've had this book on my shelf since the mid-1970s, and reading it now is an experience much enhanced by smart phones. The plates are b/w and there are far more references than plates. Bringing up images on the phone not only adds the vibrancy of color (where that's important) but adds visual persuasion to sentence sets like the following, in which only one book plate is available without a phone. "An example" [of Michelangelo's drawings] "reproduced with little change" "is the sketch of 'The Abduction of Hippodameia' [Plate 162 of the book] in Brussels, in which the chief figure is obviously taken from Michelangelo's drawing at Windsor of 'Archers Shooting at a Mark.'...Its value as an independent form can be gauged from the fact that although the figures were originally flying forward, in the Rubens they are supposed to be pulling in the opposite direction: and yet we accept it without question." Addendum: The book deals with body shapes as they relate to artists and the broader culture, both those of men and women. The attitudes of men and women toward's women's body shapes being a much discussed topic today, this aspect of the book also recommends it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Frightful_elk

    This isn't a box breaking look at The nude in art, a lot of fundamental things go unexplored, but this is still a fantastic book. Clark has a way of littering his writing with really engaging and exciting ideas, his special way of looking at art with love and respect means he opens up any work no matter how familiar and really gets you into the ideas behind it. The sections are an good basic framework, though the venus/apollo sections are far less engaging than his marvellous chapters on energy a This isn't a box breaking look at The nude in art, a lot of fundamental things go unexplored, but this is still a fantastic book. Clark has a way of littering his writing with really engaging and exciting ideas, his special way of looking at art with love and respect means he opens up any work no matter how familiar and really gets you into the ideas behind it. The sections are an good basic framework, though the venus/apollo sections are far less engaging than his marvellous chapters on energy and pathos etc, I think those sections have relevance far beyond the nude.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    This book is a great read. It describes the history of the nude in western art from the ancient Greek sculptures up to modern art ending with Matisse, Picasso and Henry Moore. It tells how the Greeks used proportion and elements of geometry to construct their creations which usually were about their gods and heroes. The chapters include Apollo, Venus, Energy, Pathos, Ecstasy, etc. If you're into art history this is a must read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ralph Britton

    Very much out of fashion but I still enjoyed this a lot. I found the chapters on the most recent art the least convincing, but his insights into Greek and Roman sculpture fascinating. I had not read it for thirty years but it certainly stood the test of time.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    As part of the curriculum here at New York Academy of Art, there are chapters that are required as reading assignments and discussions that occur in class. I didn't read the book from beginning to end. It's assuredly interesting and a must for anyone at the fore of creating figurative artwork.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    Something to learn each time I read it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dfordoom

    Clark doesn't seem entirely sure about the nude unless he can find a metaphysical reason for it. At least it's a change from some of the sillier feminist tracts on the subject.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Excellent. Kenneth Clark had lots to say on the history of the nude in art. Much less dry than I expected it to be. Recommended for anyone working with the figure in any way.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Although I don't agree with everything he says, the book offers art-historical categories and interpretive frameworks for approaching representations of the human figure.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tony Gualtieri

    Tremendously rich from beginning to end. Each paragraph contains passages of deep critical observation and unexpected connections. The finest book on art history that I've read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Clairedaigle

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  25. 5 out of 5

    Janet Roger

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eva

  27. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Koncz

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sami Sadki

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Olpha Touil

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.