Friday, June 22, 2012

The Friday Evening Nudes

This Friday, I present a large variety of fine art nudes of various shapes, sizes, styles and persuasions.  I hope  you enjoy the art and your weekend.
Stay cool!

All the love,

Arthur Bowen Davies

Jules Pascin

William Strang

Henrick Goltzius
(Would anyone care to venture a meaning for the man's expression as well as what he carries in each hand?)

Alberto Pancorbo

Odilon Redon
(One of my all-time favorites of any time or style)

David Park

Hans Makart

Cami Davies

Margarita Sikorskaia 

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres

There is a reason as  to why this  portrait was painted with three arms. Can you guess what it is?


  1. Another wonderful selection Gina!

  2. I love these real and passionate human forms (that remind me the world is not size zero and passion requires something to hold onto).

    I think the dude with the helmet and the pallet is wishing he had painted her boobs bigger....

  3. Since the Goltzius is a painting of Mercury it seems likely the staff he's holding in his right hand is a caduceus. The palette and brushes in his left hand seem less likely but maybe he'll use then to whack that threatening woman who's standing behind him.

    I'm glad you asked the question about the Ingres portrait of a woman with three arms as it led me to the completed painting which is quite amazing. Orientalism is a favorite style of mine but as an admirer rather than a practitioner :-)

    I can see why you love the Redon. You once posted his painting of the young Buddha which I copied and saved to my collection. He was truly gifted with a magical insight.

    Thank you for showing us another marvelous collection, my friend.
    much love xoxox

  4. Dear Pagan,
    I am glad I happened by for this return of the Friday Evening Nudes!

    In the time since they were a regular feature I've done more life drawing, and struggled with what I want in my own drawings of the nude figure. I was surprised to find how much that affects my view of these paintings you offer.

    I'm not as interested in the more realistic or highly rendered figures, even when they're strong and expressive (not just technical virtuosity). I'm (more than ever) pulled in by the more painterly or sketchy images, the impressions, or by the images where the artist is more visible.

    The Sikorskaia, for instance, hit me hard. I can hear the female figure's heart beating in the male figure's ear, and the serene expression on her face and hand lightly on the back of his neck reassure me that this is not a tragic image. Quiet joy. The light on their skin is beautiful. The sharp profile of her breasts is so sensual and yet innocent. He has wrapped his arms around her, not her body, and she has blissfully trusted those arms. She's not hanging on at all. The strong image of large forms makes the delicacy and subtlety that much more striking. She even managed to make the breasts look softer and smoother than all the other skin, which is the more breathtaking because it's possibly the most careful realism in the painting. A work that rewards the time spent on it. I would love to see this one in person.

    The Hans Makart images impress me for their classical use of weight and weight shift. Again, with my recent attempts to capture a tiny portion of this type of gravity, I'm struck by things like the careful observation of the glutes in the far right figure (the way they tense when we reach over our heads and lean back slightly). Or the rib cage subtly changing the shape of the breasts of the second figure from the right - the firm flatness of the torso just below her neck. And the balancing and twisting of the forms stacked up in the far left image, and the exquisite observation of the muscles in her back. Those three images impress me more than the other two...

    The David Park is such an unusual composition - like a modern reply to Degas' bathers... I like the handling of the light on the curtain and the back of the figure. Overall I find this brutish and hulking, and that captures the athletic masculinity, exagerated by the head size, the handling of the hands and feet, and the posture. This is one of those interesting moments for me when I realize I admire but don't like a painting. It's an invitation to acquire a taste, and some of those later become cravings.

    As with nearly every Redon, I am excited by the colors, the forms, and the sense that this is in some alternate world. This is another entry in your line-up which makes me long to see it in person. I want to see how he applied the colors. Something about his compositions often feels familiar to me, as if we share some shapes or sense of dividing the surface.

    - I have to post this in two pieces... Sorry it's so long!


  5. Continued...

    The Pancorbo and Goltzius paintings are striking, and if they're large they would have strong gallery presence. The Goltzius reminds me of another artist - I think he's quoting or copying someone else here... Mercury (who has a winged helmet) invented the caduseus and all of the arts. Self portrait of the artist as Mercury and Saint Sebastian? I keep being reminded of the martyr shot full of paint brushes (I mean arrows).

    Speaking of quoting... the William Strang seems an obvious homage to Gauguin - a love letter to him. The colors, the landscape, the textures, the shapes of the foliage and waves, the cloisonnism - all Gauguin. The figures seem Japanese to me, though, instead of Polynesian - I like that.

    The Pascin particularly speaks to me because it captures some of what I struggle to say about the figure in my watercolor and crayon studies - and he does it with a softer hand and more confident handling of the light. The face is simple and lovely. The whole piece, to me, is about the forms from her right shoulder and collar bones, through the lovely forms and tan lines on her breasts, and the wrist and hand emerging from behind her. Actually, the whole painting revolves around the emphasized line profiling her right side and that hand. Her knees are also beautifully and subtly captured. Another piece that rewards your time the longer you look - and another I would love to see in person. I'm torn between this one and the Sikorskaia as my favorite in this set. I'm grateful for your sharing of both.

    The Arthur Bowen Davies doesn't do much for me - I think I would need to see it in person to properly appreciate the use of the paint. But for me, the paint gets in the way in this case.

    The Ingres... I love his work,
    thought it often feels cold to me. I recall that this figure appears in one of his odalisque/harem/bath paintings, and I remember the figure with her arm over her head (though I might be wrong). He may have used the figure BOTH ways (possibly not in the same painting). Beautiful model - a life drawing session with her would be one of the most challenging for me, when there is too much going on visually for me to let go and focus on just a few things. The way I feel sometimes in bright sunlight, when I'm as aware of all the beams I'm missing as I am the beams striking my hands and face. The overwhelming flood of beauty.


  6. I view the paintings slowly, one at a time, to learn more about each artist and his/her other works.

    I started by Ingres because he was a favourite of the AGO docent who took me under his wings, at my first visit there, in 1984. Didn't read the comments here as I wanted to discover, on my own, why the model would have 3 arms. I read, in one of the Ingres posts I googled, that the artist was practicing different ways to position the arms for another lady of his "bath harem" painting. It makes sense to me. I've been told that Ingres anatomy wasn't always perfect. In the same model, one arm would be longer than the other, one leg shorter etc. I couldn't care less! So much luminous beauty in his female paintings!

    Thank you for the post.

  7. Thank you all for interest, appreciation and comments.

    Susan - Redon, yes. Sigh.

    Claude - I often don't care about the technicalities of the paintings either, in favor of the overall mood of it, the color, etc. but I do like it when I'm pressed to find a reason to like and not like a painting whenever I can explain it. Steve's comments are always good to get me reviewing what I've posted and thinking more about it.

    Steve - great insights as always. Margarita Sikorskaia's painting of the lovers struck me hard as well. As I think of it, I don't care much for Goltzius of Mercury. What I adore is his face, his expression, the dark eyes that turn down, the beautiful mouth. I think the artist captured him beautifully. The background, of course, causes intrigue but I don't like the way it's painted so apart from the central figure. I'm not sure if there is a reason for having done it that way. It also almost appears that the face and the body don't quite go together skin tone wise...

    I was aiming for posting more male nudes and there really aren't that many that aren't somehow related to a story in the painting. I think that's why I love the Cami Davies so much (you didn't mention it) but I love the man's back and the sinewy arms. He is there for the figure study exclusively. I suppose there are many male nude models that I am unaware of, as the internet has by no means exhausted every piece of artwork there is.

    My World (Sandy?) - thanks for coming by!

    Jams - as always thanks for letting me know you were here!

  8. Well, I'm late to the party, but I still want to say "Thank you" for these, they're amazing. The Pascin is heart-breakingly beautiful on so many levels...

    The Davies does something which I strive for in my photography and only achieve on rare good days - setting a subject in space, "floating" an element (here the sole subject.) It's very dramatic. Plus, I'm jealous of that guy's back.

    The Sikorskaia is a beautiful example of something else I work for in photos, a balance of mass and energy (darkness and light as well as physical form,) with the energy being sub-balanced between kinetic and potential. It's exquisite!

    As for Goltzius' Mercury, he looks too much like Tony Danza passing gas.

  9. CR - I really enjoyed your comment; how you linked your photographer's eye to what you see in the paintings. You are a fine photographer. I heard that you sold three of your photographs for some big bucks! Congratulations! Sending a hug. :-)

  10. The human body is just amazing ... and artists manage to discover the myriad of ways in which to express this. I love the variety of your choice this week - although I am late in viewing - a real treat.


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