Author(s): Jill Burke
The first scholarly monograph to focus on the inception of the Italian Renaissance nude, this lively study subverts the idea that the nude in this period was a triumph of classical revival. Looking again at familiar (even overly familiar) images by artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Titian, this book investigates the nude as a tool of colonialism and conquest, as a means of asserting the superiority of men to women, and of naturalizing power differentials by entrenching them in a fixed set of ideas about the body and its representation. Jill Burke uses new research on Renaissance sexual practices, material culture, and the history of medicine to contextualize the era's fascination with nakedness and the body in both art and life. The Italian Renaissance Nude invites readers to consider these celebrated nudes from beyond an aesthetic perspective--to consider why they were painted, whose gaze the images were created for, and how these artworks were used.