Robert Mapplethorpe Ajitto (Seated Nude) 1981 Robert Mapplethorpe Ken Moody 1983
The Human Body Section 2 – the monumental figure The figure as a symbol of the state
Michelangelo David 1504 Carrara marble 517 cm This was intended as a symbol of the independent city of Florence, and stood outside the Palazzo Vecchio. You need to know the Biblical story to understand the artwork as a political symbol. The sculpture is more universally seen as a symbol of male beauty.
The 20 th Century was a time of competing ideologies and the Spanish Civil War was the start of the conflict that became the Second World War. The Government forces were supported by liberal, Socialist and Communist groups, whilst the Nationalists were supported by conservatives, Catholics and the Spanish Army. Hitler and Mussolini sent forces to aid the Nationalists and Stalin and the various Communist parties around the world aided the Nationalists. At the Paris World Fair Picasso’s painting Guernica was the main display in the Spanish pavilion, whilst the (Nazi) German government and the (Communist) Soviet government represented their cultures with massive figures.
Vera Mukhina, Factory Worker and Collective Farm Girl, 1937 Here two figures striding forward together symbolise the Soviet state.
Josep Thorak, Comradeship, 1937 Heinrich Knirr Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Third Reich and Renewer of German Art
Marc Quinn “Alison Lapper Pregnant” Installed in Trafalgar Square, London 2005.
Max Dupain Sunbaker, 1937. Tom ROBERTS - Shearing the Rams 1890 Australian symbols In Shearing the Rams Tom Roberts was creating a symbol of Australia, with people all working together in harmony towards a common cause. This painting was a part of the campaign for an independent, federated Australia. It should be noted that even at this time most Australians lived in the capital cities, on the coast, and that it was painted around the time of an acrimonious strike in the shearing industry. Max Dupain, in the 1930s, creates a different Australian symbol – the fit, healthy young man on the beach, working on his tan. An image of health, beauty and strength, notwithstanding the fact that the man in the picture.
The Human Body Section 3 – the reclining figure The Etruscans were the predecessors of the Romans in central Italy. These sculptures display scenes of social intimacy and comfort. It is contemporary with the art of the ancient Greeks – 5 th and 6 th Centuries BC. Unlike the Greek sculptures that survive these are portraits of ordinary people in social interaction. They were a part of the subject’s sarcophagus.
Titian -Venus of Urbino -1538 The erotic reclining female nude does not figure greatly in either Greek or Roman art, though Roman erotic art was very raunchy. This figure is refined and dignified, to reflect the tastes of the wealthy owner. This image has influenced many artists over the centuries.
Francois Boucher Blonde Odalisque (Portrait of Louise O’Murphy) 1752 Boucher’s approach to the subject is more directly erotic, with the image scattered with obvious signs and symbols. The painting was presented to the French King Louis XV, who then acquired the girl. In this way the painting served as a form of advertising.
Maya culture (Mexico) – Chac Mool figure The chac mool figure appears in many Mayan temples. He reclines with a platter on his midriff, with his head turned impassively away. It was at the centre of the human sacrifice, with the victims heart placed upon the platter. The Chac Mool was appropriated by the English sculptor Henry Moore as a source image for many of his own reclining figures.
Henry Moore – Reclining Figures Reclining figure – Arch Leg 1969-70 Large Four-Part Reclining figure –1972-3 Large Reclining figure 1984Reclining figure 1982
Alberto Giacometti Woman with Her Throat Cut (Femme égorgée), 1932 (cast 1940). Bronze, 23.2 x 89 cm
The Human Body Section 4 – Performance Yves Klein coating a model with paint during a performance Yves Klein, French, 1928-1962 Untitled Anthropometry (ANT 100), 1960 French artist Yves Klein was a pioneer of performance art, using models as “human paintbrushes”. These were very formal events in front of an invited audience, accompanied by music. Visit the website http://www.yvesklein.org/ for more information. http://www.yvesklein.org/
Photographer: F.Parr Image courtesy of Sherman Galleries Mike Parr’s performance “Malevich (A Political Arm) performance for as long as possible” “For thirty hours between the third and fourth of May 2002, a man sat in a gallery with his only arm nailed to the wall.”
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