Now On: Nude Sculptures, National Gallery

  • 30 Dec 2015 8:04 AM
Now On: Nude Sculptures, National Gallery
The word nude entered the English language from Latin, orig­inally in the sense of "plain, explicit". In art, the term first denoted representations of clothed or half-naked models with the intention of studying their figures, postures and gestures, before it started to refer to the naked human body. Before the Renaissance, nude representation was usually reserved for symbolic messages.

Later, in studio and academic practice, it served study purposes in preparation for figural compositions.

In time, the sense of the word broadened, and now refers to various representations of naked humans. Our exhibit provides examples for both understandings. Nude statues can not only be the embodiments of Adam and Eve, or Venus, but may also provide a human form for such abstract notions as Love or Morning.

In turn, titles like Sitting Man or Reclining Woman refer merely to the bodily positions of the models.To make nudes, models were used as early as the Middle Ages, male models initially substituting for female figures. It became common to use female models after 1500. As late as the 1890s, drawing after nude models was still not established in Hungarian artist training, while it was already common practice at French academies.

As a new thematic unit at our permanent exhibition, we present some of the gems of our collection, white marble statues that exemplify types of nude representation, made du­r­ing the period from the turn of the last century to the 1920s.At around 1890, monument sculpture was still marked by a historicizing eclecticism, while portraiture, genre compositions and medal art already embraced naturalism and Art Nouveau.

As in the case of painting, the modern endeavours were represented in Hungarian sculpture by those artists who had visited Paris. Budapest's Museum of Fine Arts started to purchase works from the French Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), the leading innovator of fin de siecle sculpture, already at around 1900.

The organic execution of the respective works of Miklós Ligeti and Szilárd Sződy at our exhibit bears testimony to the influence of Rodin. By contrast, József Róna, a sculptor of histori­cism, followed his antiquating nudes (Female Nude with Palm) with classical subjects and realistic figures in the new baroque vein (Adam and Eve). Ödön Moiret's statue from the 1910s reinterprets the figure of Venus, the birth of the goddess of love.

Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl modelled a symbolic representation of Morning in the early 1920s. It was at this time that in Emese's Dream Ö. Fülöp Beck depicted a key scene from the origin myth of the Magyars.

The exhibition can be visited with an admission ticket valid to the permanent exhibitions.

Source: Hungarian National Gallery


Buda Palace, Buildings A, B, C, D
1014 Budapest, Szent György tér 2.

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