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Naked Portrait, The: 1900 - 2007

Naked Portrait, The: 1900 - 2007

By (author) Mark Hammer


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  • Explores the history of naked portraiture exploring artworks by the likes of Lucian Freud, Tracey Emin and Egon Schiele and photography by Alfred Stieglitz and Richard Avedon
  • Accompanies an exhibtion at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; the show will travel to Compton Verney, Warwickshire in the Autumn
  • Breaking new ground in this subject, the book is heavily illustrated and focuses on British, American and European modern and contemporary artists
Full Description

This is the first study of a fascinating, international phenomenon in the art of the past century. Naked portraiture is an original hybrid of the traditional genres of the nude and portrait, and has been created by an astonishing range of major artists, in many different media and in a variety of major artistic centres. Martin Hammer’s ground-breaking book compares work by painters such as Egon Schiele, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Pierre Bonnard, Stanley Spencer, Lucian Freud, Tracey Emin and Jenny Saville. The analysis encompasses a rich tradition of naked portraiture using photographic media, produced by figures such as Alfred Stieglitz, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Boris Mikhailov, Nan Goldin, Gary Schneider and Melanie Manchot.

The subjects are men and woman, old and young, black and white, healthy and disabled. They might be lovers, close relatives or friends, with their nakedness suggesting the intimacy and tenderness existing between artist and subject. Conversely, the artist might not know them beyond the circumstance of making the pictures. Many of the images represent the artists themselves, with nudity carrying connotations of self-exploration, vulnerability, playfulness or fantasy.

Martin Hammer’s innovative study seeks to explain naked portraiture as a symptom of wider currents in modern culture, a visual parallel to various other manifestations of an impulse to reveal what is hidden, profound, or authentic, beneath the surface facade. The book also opens up for consideration the wider issue of how and why the genre of portraiture has been radically extended and reinvented, in so many different ways, within the art of the last hundred years.

About the Author
Martin Hammer is Reader in History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. His previous books include Constructing Modernity: The Art and Career of Naum Gabo (2000, co-author Christina Lodder), Bacon and Sutherland (2005), Francis Bacon: Portraits and Heads (2005, co-author Richard Calvocoressi) and the catalogue for the exhibition Graham Sutherland: Landscapes, War Scenes, Portraits 1924-1950 (Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2005).
National Galleries of Scotland
4th Jul 2007
Paperback / softback
265 mm x 245 mm
176 Pages
109 color, 54 b&w
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