The invention of The Body. Nudes, Anatomy, Passions

The exhibition brings together some one hundred masterpieces, comprising sculptures, drawings, paintings, mannequins, etc. from institutions and international art collections. The exhibition, which features works by some of the great masters such as Dürer, José de Ribera, Titian, Zurbarán, Vesalio and Tintoretto, traces some of the most significant episodes in the “artistic invention of the body” which took place in European art between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

  • From 24th Novembre 2018 to 17th February 2019
  • From Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00-20:00
  • Admission: 6 €
  • Curator: María Bolaños
The invention of The Body. Nudes, Anatomy, Passions
The invention of The Body. Nudes, Anatomy, Passions
The invention of The Body. Nudes, Anatomy, Passions
The invention of The Body. Nudes, Anatomy, Passions
The invention of The Body. Nudes, Anatomy, Passions
The invention of The Body. Nudes, Anatomy, Passions


«We are wonderfully corporeal».  This short sentence by the French humanist Michel de Montaigne expressed the admiration with which Renaissance culture discovered a new continent: man and his body, the material part of the individual, its physical nature, terrestrial.

It is a crucial novelty: between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment there would emerge a “civilisation of the body” which orders thought, traverses science, hits the senses, expressed in violent and sensual images, and invents, with it, a new type of sensibility and knowledge. Throughout those years, the body moved to centre stage in the artistic imagination, where it remained for a long time, in a dynamic trajectory of exciting changes and evolutions.

The exhibition shows the immense formal and imaginative richness of the subject through its many facets: the aesthetic component of anatomical treatises and, at the same time, the anatomical learning of the artists; conjectures about the ideal proportions of the figure; the influence of classical statuary; the corporal dramatisation of passions; the relationship between the naked and the sacred; the Counter-Reformist use of anatomical imagination as a stimulus for the devotion of the believer; the exceptionalness of female corporal nature associated with reproduction and its slide towards erotic observation; the birth of the man-machine, and, finally, the link between pictorial colour and apotheosis of the flesh.

It brings together almost a hundred masterpieces: sculptures, drawings, anatomical treatises, paintings, anatomical mannequins, drawing books, relics, artistic dolls, fragments of altarpieces, physiognomical studies, plaster casts and articulated figures. The selected artists –Ribera, Valverde de Amusco, Juan de Arfe, Silveira, Crisóstomo Martínez, Maíno, Pedro de Mena, Berruguete or Juan de Juni– provide proof of the roots in Spain of this phenomenon, although they give voice to relationships with other inspiring focal points, such as the Italian or the Flemish –Vesalio, Tintoretto, Veronese–, and foreign artists present in the Spanish royal collections, such as Cambiaso or Rubens.

Organisation: San Telmo Museoa, Museo Nacional de Escultura (Valladolid)
: Kutxa Fundazioa

Activities and guided tours

All the activities (information in spanish)

Moreover, guided tours are also available for groups by prior reservation: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / 943 48 15 61

All the activities (information in spanish).

All the activities (information in spanish).


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