Language of the Body

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, Author, Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, Illustrator, John Elderfield, With ABRAMS $75 (221p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3585-3
A treasure for connoisseurs and scholars, this volume showcases the ravishing chalk studies of male and female nude models made after 1800 by famous French painter Pierre-Paul Prud'hon. Often called ""the French Correggio"" for his freewheeling mythological and allegorical canvases, Prud'hon (1758-1823) was an unorthodox public artist of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire. The Romantic generation championed his melancholy, mysterious eroticism, which is on full display in these feminized male bodies and idealized female torsos. Chief curator at large for Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art, Elderfield looks at Prud'hon's unhappy life--he separated from his violent, drunken wife after 25 years, gaining custody of his five children when she was committed to an insane asylum--and masterfully analyzes startling works that blur normally separated categories (masculine/feminine, platonic/passionate, cool/ecstatic) in a transgressive fantasy of desire. Gordon is an independent art historian. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!