Information from the museum, 1 December 2015
Based on new research, Rembrandt’s Naked Truth features seventeenth-century nude studies that have never before been brought together in such large numbers. It will be the first time that Rembrandt’s frank approach to drawing nudes will be examined in depth and brought to the notice of a wide audience.
In the seventeenth century Rembrandt and his pupils followed the new trend of drawing from models, but Rembrandt’s approach differed from his contemporaries’. His uncompromising realism was criticized – he presented reality and so did not conform to the accepted ideal of beauty at that time. When Rembrandt and his pupils drew nude models they talked about art, beauty and transience – subjects that were as sensitive in those days as they are now.
Rembrandt’s Naked Truth will showcase more than fifty objects from a number of European and American public and private collections, augmented by a selection of Rembrandt’s etchings from the Rembrandt House’s collection. The drawings, prints and paintings are extremely rare.
Warts and All
During the Renaissance artists began to draw living models, but it was a while before nude models figured. At first there were no female models at all.Pupils often posed nude for one another in Rembrandt’s workshop, but prostitutes were used for female nudes. Rembrandt portrayed his models as they were – warts and all – with drooping breasts, wrinkles, sagging bellies and pockmarked thighs. He went his own way, against the prevailing fashion.
Rembrandt’s Naked Truth is the second of three exhibitions devoted to Rembrandt’s training methods. The first, Rembrandt’s Late Pupils, was staged in the spring of 2015. The last in the series, about Rembrandt’s pupils Govaert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol, is planned for 2017. Rembrandt’s Naked Truth offers new insights into the unique method of instruction of the Netherlands’ most famous artist and compares his approach with that of present day art education.