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Sacred nude

F ull of surprises, and a few shocks, sexy, sacred and profane, The Renaissance Nude is almost as salacious as it is scholarly.

The Renaissance Nude review – a sexy, sacred riot of flesh

It is a riot of bodies in these low-lit, sober grey nudejuniors. Christian martyrs are impaled on trees. Several Saint Sebastians stand about, pin-up boys oblivious to the arrows that pierce sacred. A procession of flagellants in a Netherlandish Book of Hours prepare themselves for their hooded tormentors in a scene as erotic as it is devotional.

The delicacy and intimacy of the image counterpoints its impending violence. Filled with detail, the crepuscular image is a nightmarish pastoral of fanciful architecture, the silence of slumber and the cacophony of the nude city. The little monsters complete the over-the-top scene.

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I could look at this all day. Their nakedness, it is suggested, is an association with animalistic barbarity rather than heroism, sacred a return to a fanciful antiquity. I was not expecting so much violence, or so much implied sex of all kinds.

‘The Renaissance Nude’ Review: The Body, Sacred and Sensual - WSJ

Saint Jerome, butt naked, tears at his skin with a stone in a polychromed wood sculpture by Donatello though there seems to be some dispute over his authorshipwhich shows the saint attempting to distract himself from the temptations of the flesh. I begin to know how he feels. Baptism was a pretext for Luca Signorelli nude paint male buttocks.