051112: Leopold Museum - Naked Men – from 1800 to the present day

Leopold Museum Naked Men – from 1800 to the present day 19.10.2012 – 28.01.2013 The absence of the fig leaves By Daniele Gregori It's nothing new: women have to be naked in order to get into a museum. And what do naked men have to do to keep up with them? They have to be heroes, the Saviour or at least divine. Adam is also such a classic but he really had nothing to put on until the fig leaf, or a strategically placed leafy twig, was introduced into images to help matters so that blushes would be spared for all and sundry. Whilst the most diverse exhibitions were dedicated to naked females, naked men were, thus far, never worthy of serious presentation in a museum. Now there's two being simultaneously presented in Austria, the theme really appears to have been in the air. In the Leopold Museum, the curator duo, Elisabeth Leopold and Tobias G. Natter, approach the theme in accordance with a strictly classical concept, which doesn't seem to hurt the exhibition. The male nude belonged to academic art education right from the beginning. The anatomically correctly proportioned body shown in peculiar poses and movements, the modelling of individual groups of muscles, the comparison with the ideal picture of the antique, all that was studied, sketched, formed, albeit only the participation of the male colleagues in the studio for nude studies served as the reason to keep women out of the Academy for Fine Arts in Vienna right into the 20th century. There were enough drawings, and later also photographs in which the male nude was shown – but never in a museum. It was only with the Vienna Modernism and its heroes such as Richard Gerstl, Egon Schiele or Anton Kolig, that the male nude became a central pictorial theme, in the case of the first two also the point of self-questioning, the production of a fully exposed id. Following a prologue with five naked men from five centuries, amongst them the "oldest nude in town" (quote Natter) an Egyptian court official from 2400 B.C., three main points were singled out, namely classicism, the modernism and the post-war development, all of which were examined as to their applicable innovation or central questioning. The exhibition isn't dissipated and doesn't lose itself, and in spite of its richness, lays no claim to completeness, shows remarkable - as well as less remarkable - splendour. Not all the exhibited positions are flawless, but the conception is almost free of reproach. What more does one want? Leopold Museum 1070 Vienna, Museumsquartier Tel: +43 1 525 70-0 Fax: +43 1 525 70-1500 email: leopoldmuseum@leopoldmuseum.org http://www.leopoldmuseum.org Opening hours: Wed – Mon: 11.00 – 19.00 hours, Fri: 11.00 – 21.00 hours

Leopold Museum
1070 Wien, Museumsquartier
Tel: +43 1 525 70-0, Fax: +43 1 525 70-1500
Email: leopoldmuseum@leopoldmuseum.org
Öffnungszeiten: Mi-So 10-18 h

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