The Naked Truth The Male Nude on Paper   06.07. – 06.11.2022

The Naked Truth: The Male Nude on Paper

Admiration and shame, innocence and guilt, passion and suffering – the naked male body in art evokes conflicting feelings and can have very different meanings. The diversity of nude depictions ranges from ancient heroes and Christian martyrs to bathers and athletes, models and self-portraits. This exhibition juxtaposes the ideal nude and the individualistic body and so addresses timeless questions about beauty and masculinity.

The naked man has been a defining feature in the history of art since Greek antiquity. Renaissance artists brought the nude to new heights, using mythological, biblical and secular subjects to reveal bare skin. At the same time, the study of anatomy provided a new basis for the depiction of the unclothed human being. The academic nude established itself as a standard of artistic training. Many modernist artists depicted themselves in the nude.

This exhibition in the two cabinets of the Kupferstichkabinett (Department of Prints and Drawings) considers the naked male body in drawings and prints from the 15th to the 20th century, commencing with the era of Albrecht Dürer. On views are some 80 works, mainly from the museum's own rich holdings, including new discoveries of drawings by Giulio Clovio and Anton Raphael Mengs, famous engravings by Marcantonio Raimondi and Hendrick Goltzius, as well as rarely shown works by Rembrandt and Paula Modersohn-Becker.

The exhibition is made possible with funds from the inheritance of Ralf Hartel, Bremen.


(Fig. exhibition overview: Hendrick Goltzius, Herkules Farnese, 1592 | Fig. above: Henri Gabriel Ibels, Three Athletes (Wrestler?) on a Stage, c. 1892/93 | both: Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Department of Prints and Drawings)