Florence, Day 3: A Day of Sculpture and the Nude in Art



The nude in art: It’s a subject of controversy, and I, like many artists, don’t understand why. It’s such a huge part is our art education. I have written about it in the past and explained my reasoning as to why it’s not obscene — it’s art. So today I’ll concentrate on how it is affecting my growth as an artist and as a person. [Click here to read my past musings on the topic.]

I think every artist should have to return to studying from “real life” several times in their journey as an artist, to freshen up how we see, and it’s only a matter of finding a place and the time in which to do this.


Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. We all know the term, and many know it means rebirth. But more specifically, it means that here, in this city, there was a spark. Something special where patrons who valued the arts met some of the most gloriously rich creative minds. So the city had money and it knew just what to do with it. It had been a thousand years since the Greeks and Romans (the ancients, as they were called) had made such advances, and the people valued it. The emphasis was all about humanism, which meant representing man as he was, not a glorified version of the gods. And what would representing man as he really is be without intense study of the nude? Many Renaissance artists even worked on corpses to study the anatomy and muscular skeletal make up so they could really get it right.

On this day, I knew my class would be studying from life (that is, a nude model), so before class, I visited the Bargello sculpture museum to really break down how the body was handled through the hands of masters like Michelangelo and Donatello. It is something special to be studying with all of these amazing art works surrounding you for inspiration.

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Today, the city itself will be my subject as I begin my plein air study. It will be exciting to be outside!

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