Given its philosophical, social and identity ramifications, representations of the human body have been the subject of multiple variations, in every age and in every figurative field, with forms capable of reconciling the expressiveness of the artist with the sensitivity and taste of the times.
If, at the end of the 19th century devotees of tradition and stalwarts of modernity advocated contrasting visions - on the one hand physical perfection and on the other, anatomical realism and an attempt, reinforced by the invention of photography, to interpret the body in a more naturalistic way - in the 20th century a keen sensitivity for the complex and polymorphous reality of the body spread, and far from being considered an entity stagnant in its constancy, began to be proffered by artists as a game involving multiple forces.
The nude female body in particular acquires an increasingly marked essentiality over time, and thanks to the use of figurative language, has the capacity to transmit subtle changes to the soul. Then, in the last century, it became the object of investigation; woman depicted in her most intimate nudity, and her grace and beauty, embodies like no other subject the poetics of the artists in this section.
In the works on display, the female figures are a presence that goes far beyond the normal interest of painters and sculptors in this classic theme. On the contrary, passionate and punctuated investigation attempts to grasp a profound sense of a woman’s existence in these portrayals of them in all their possible variations that are yet consistent with their individual aesthetics. More specifically, by taking their various sensitivities into account, efforts have been made to elaborate the relationship between art and human reality in the most authentic way possible. The result is woman in her most intimate dimension - between form and life - a presence that is naked, defenceless, powerless and fragile. And, as an image of grace and beauty, she becomes the embodiment of the poetic essence of the artist, the emblematic figure of her aesthetics.
From the most realistic vision to one imbued with allegorical values and suggestive psychologisms – the tendency to interpret events or arguments in subjective terms, or to exaggerate the relevance of psychological factors - or the figure of a woman stripped of all her daily trappings and posed in her naked identity; from object, rather than subject, to the triumph of nudity as purity and harmony, the female nude body seems to ask itself the fundamental question on the meaning of existence. At the same time, it declares its patient availability as an object to be painted or sculpted until, in more contemporary art, it shows itself as a means of redemption, a sign of emancipation, capable of achieving a new expressive vitality, a body reduced to a lost, partial and incomplete unity and one that encloses and expresses drives, desires and fragility.
Adolfo De Carolis