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Human body

'I wanted to conquer the world. But I also desperately wanted to understand human nature, and to know what was inside our bodies. To do this, I have spent whole night dissecting bodies, against the direct orders of the Pope. Nothing disgusts me. What I am looking for, truly, in all of my work and particularly in my painting, what I have looked for all my life, is to understand the mystery that is human nature' – from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci in the 16th century.

At the time of writing these notes, da Vinci had already made greater understanding of the human body the primary objective of his investigations. Dissection and study were key to his development of a holistic knowledge of anatomy, which da Vinci believed was vital to the perfect rendering of the nude figures which he painted and drew.

Little by little, the traditional image of the human figure was uprooted and in its place new ways of interpreting the body developed. Contemporary artists relentlessly questioned the traditional codes of figure drawing, liberally reworking the representation of the body to create a new image that was dislocated, geometric, deformed and disfigured.

The body as an artistic subject is at once desired, fantasised, dreamt, transformed, deformed. For painters, photographers and sculptors alike the body represents a rite of passage in their artistic development. Many people say that they most appreciate the talents of an artists by way of their control over the complexity of the figure. For example, it's clear even in Matisse's later, more abstract collages that he had perfectly mastered the human form.

Representation of the body is fundamental to Western art: first and foremost because it suggests a representation of the self, and therefore affirms the artist's own existence and coexistence with the environment that surrounds them. At the beginning of art history, the only bodies represented were the gods, supernatural beings, and spirits who had taken on human form. The body, nude or clothed, is at once one of the most widely depicted and most deeply polemical subjects in Western art (think of the scandals provoked by Courbet's 'Origins of the World', or Renoir's 'Picnic on the Grass').

The body has always been the primary subject of an array of themes, and its history is rich and ancient. Initially, depiction of the body was closely linked to religion, where the Word became flesh in Genesis, but later in more secular times the arousal of the artist when faced with the body made for an equally popular theme. Latterly the notion of the body as an object of beauty was subverted by Cubism until depictions of bodies no longer bore any resemblance to reality or made any pretence of respecting the rules of proportion.

Finally, in modern art the body has taken on an abstract shape within space, becoming one with the environment. In some instances, the body has become the artist's own support, as with Klein's models. The body as an abstract concept is tangible in many different manifestations in art, even in pieces as unassuming as some of Rothko's paintings. It remains the subject of inexhaustible inspiration and eternal debate.

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Horst P. Horst, Yasmin Le Bon Chanel contact sheet, Vogue UK, Photography

Horst P. Horst

Yasmin Le Bon Chanel contact sheet, Vogue UK, 1986
180.1 x 137.4 x 0.3 cm


Vita Opolskyte, Untitled IX, Fine Art Drawings

Vita Opolskyte

Untitled IX, 2020
21 x 30 x 1 cm
Fine Art Drawings


Bogdan Dyulgerov, Waiting, Sculpture

Bogdan Dyulgerov

Waiting, 2020
50 x 13 x 12 cm


Levalet, Vase, Sculpture


Vase, 2017
42 x 25 x 25 cm


Sandra Chevrier, La cage ou les gens pleurent, Sculpture

Sandra Chevrier

La cage ou les gens pleurent, 2018
30 x 22 x 17 cm


Béatrice Fernando, Alioune, Sculpture

Béatrice Fernando

Alioune, 2019
171 x 30 x 17 cm


Our recommendations Lutfi Romhein, Ailée, Sculpture

Lutfi Romhein

Ailée, 2019
58 x 25 x 25 cm


Charles Lapicque, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

Charles Lapicque

Sans titre, 1966
29.7 x 20.5 cm
Fine Art Drawings


Kokimoto, Seascape 11, Painting


Seascape 11, 2010
100 x 70 x 0.3 cm


Ron English, African Elephant, Print

Ron English

African Elephant, 2015
87 x 60.5 cm


Shaka, Prédation #2, Fine Art Drawings


Prédation #2, 2020
200 x 130 cm
Fine Art Drawings


Our recommendations Gérard Schlosser, Presque vide, Painting

Gérard Schlosser

Presque vide, 2015
100 x 100 x 2.5 cm


Our recommendations Barthélémy Toguo, Take a Green Breath, Print

Barthélémy Toguo

Take a Green Breath, 2017
120 x 160 cm


Bernard Frize, Extension 2, Print

Bernard Frize

Extension 2, 2013
70 x 50 cm


Stew, Sans titre, Painting


Sans titre, 2019
70 x 90 x 5 cm


Véronique Clanet, La Danse    ---- numérotée 7/8., Sculpture

Véronique Clanet

La Danse ---- numérotée 7/8., 2018
34 x 20 x 18 cm


André Robillard, L'océan pacifique indien, Fine Art Drawings

André Robillard

L'océan pacifique indien, 2015
20 x 100 x 5 cm
Fine Art Drawings


Philfri, - Rodeo 2, Painting


- Rodeo 2, 2017
92 x 65 x 2.5 cm


Albena Vatcheva, Minuit dans le jardin de l'enfance, Fine Art Drawings

Albena Vatcheva

Minuit dans le jardin de l'enfance, 2020
57 x 77 x 0.1 cm
Fine Art Drawings


Gelitin, Horse, Sculpture


Horse, 2011
120 x 50 x 100 cm


Emilio Greco, Nanda, Print

Emilio Greco

Nanda, 1955
57 x 45 x 0.2 cm


Giorgio de Chirico, Muse of the Music, Sculpture

Giorgio de Chirico

Muse of the Music, 1980
24 x 5.8 x 0.1 cm


Virginie Soubeiroux, Homeostasis, Photography

Virginie Soubeiroux

Homeostasis, 2017
180 x 100 cm


Claude Lévêque, Golden World, Print

Claude Lévêque

Golden World, 2018
75 x 105 cm


Joëlle Acoulon, 24 février 2018, Photography

Joëlle Acoulon

24 février 2018, 2018
60 x 70 cm


Polo 51.67, L'abeille des papes, Painting

Polo 51.67

L'abeille des papes, 2018
100 x 150 cm


Marcel Dumont, Les Alpilles en été / The Alpilles in summer, Painting

Marcel Dumont

Les Alpilles en été / The Alpilles in summer, 1994
65 x 50 cm


Xurxo Gómez-Chao, A temporalidade da paisaxe I, Photography

Xurxo Gómez-Chao

A temporalidade da paisaxe I, 2017
100 x 100 cm


Guillaume Couffignal, Architecture, Sculpture

Guillaume Couffignal

Architecture, 2019
52 x 22 x 11 cm


Rik Van de Walle, What's on your mind, Painting

Rik Van de Walle

What's on your mind, 2017
120 x 120 x 5 cm


Claire Fontaine, Untitled (Castor 1), Print

Claire Fontaine

Untitled (Castor 1), 2013
90 x 120 cm


Riccardo Tommasi Ferroni, Corrida, Print

Riccardo Tommasi Ferroni

Corrida, 1960
50 x 70 x 0.2 cm


Henry Maurice, Untitled, Print

Henry Maurice

Untitled, 1973
50 x 70 x 0.2 cm


Leonardo Castellani, Seafood, Print

Leonardo Castellani

Seafood, 1943
69 x 49 x 0.1 cm


Fritz Wotruba, Abstract, Print

Fritz Wotruba

Abstract, 1971
47 x 63 x 0.2 cm


Ernesto Jesus Garcia, Black Holes V, Painting

Ernesto Jesus Garcia

Black Holes V, 2019
29.5 x 41.5 x 1 cm


Corinne Dubreuil, Serena, Photography

Corinne Dubreuil

Serena, 2017
40 x 60 cm


George Segal, Girl in Bright Red Shirt, Print

George Segal

Girl in Bright Red Shirt, 1976
70.5 x 99 x 0.1 cm


Chas Laborde, People Conversation, Fine Art Drawings

Chas Laborde

People Conversation, 1930
31 x 20.3 x 0.2 cm
Fine Art Drawings


Alexander de Cadenet, Epicentre, Olympic Games Beijing, Print

Alexander de Cadenet

Epicentre, Olympic Games Beijing, 2008
70 x 94.5 x 0.1 cm


Claude Mollard, L'Homme naturel de JJ Rousseau, Ermenonville, Photography

Claude Mollard

L'Homme naturel de JJ Rousseau, Ermenonville, 2007
50 x 34 cm


Jean-Marie Laugero, Le radeau, Painting

Jean-Marie Laugero

Le radeau, 2017
130 x 150 cm


Antonio de Felipe, Comerse el coco II, Painting

Antonio de Felipe

Comerse el coco II, 2009
116 x 89 x 4 cm


Emile Dien, L'homme aux lunettes, Painting

Emile Dien

L'homme aux lunettes, 1989
120 x 80 x 2 cm


Thomas Reheisser, Sans titre 7.8.2, Painting

Thomas Reheisser

Sans titre 7.8.2, 2019
147 x 97 x 2 cm


Aurelija Simkute, Little Pebble, Sculpture

Aurelija Simkute

Little Pebble, 2019
18 x 12.5 x 9 cm


James Coignard, Arlequin bleu, Sculpture

James Coignard

Arlequin bleu, 2005
50 x 16 x 6 cm


Antonio Dias, Navegador, Print

Antonio Dias

Navegador, 2015
106 x 70 cm


Jacques Doucet, Jabadao, Painting

Jacques Doucet

Jabadao, 1987
194 x 130 cm


Marianne Cresson, Tissus associatif, Sculpture

Marianne Cresson

Tissus associatif, 2011
135 x 50 x 11 cm


ODN, BB by ODN, Painting


BB by ODN, 2019
135 x 110 x 2 cm


Sorane Rotellini, Les bijoux indiscrets #3, Fine Art Drawings

Sorane Rotellini

Les bijoux indiscrets #3, 2013
43 x 33 x 2 cm
Fine Art Drawings


Sara Cao, Dung Beetles, Print

Sara Cao

Dung Beetles, 2013
65 x 50 cm


Jean-François Talivez, Power struggle, Photography

Jean-François Talivez

Power struggle, 1992
60 x 40 cm


Basil Ivan Rákóczi, Sea Worm, Painting

Basil Ivan Rákóczi

Sea Worm, 1961
64 x 80 x 2 cm


Julia Chevallier Polak, Nature en délire III, Painting

Julia Chevallier Polak

Nature en délire III, 2019
140 x 164 x 0.1 cm


Franta, Tête, Painting


Tête, 2014
55 x 46 cm


Ambra Morosi, Assente e Amato (Absent and Beloved), Painting

Ambra Morosi

Assente e Amato (Absent and Beloved), 2018
160 x 100 x 0.5 cm


Tomislav Petranovic Rvat, Ptica, Print

Tomislav Petranovic Rvat

Ptica, 1974
64.5 x 45 x 0.1 cm


Costantino Persiani, Pope on the throne II, Print

Costantino Persiani

Pope on the throne II, 1970
94 x 71 x 0.1 cm


Sylvio Marchand, Bit Nitescere II, Painting

Sylvio Marchand

Bit Nitescere II, 2016
20 x 30 x 2 cm


Chiara Dazi, Le lutteur, Photography

Chiara Dazi

Le lutteur, 2003
60 x 60 cm


ErriC, Another Dimension, Print


Another Dimension, 2020
50 x 70 x 0.2 cm


Andoche Praudel, La porte du ciel, Sculpture

Andoche Praudel

La porte du ciel, 2017
23.5 x 23.5 x 13 cm


60 Artworks on 6175

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