Written by Mathieu Doublet.

In its major autumn exhibition, the Albertina presents the emergence, power, significance and decline of a canon that was lastingly defined by Michelangelo and his nudes at the start of the 16th century. Renaissance master Michelangelo is at the center of this exhibition, as he is alone in his understanding of the new view of a dynamic body. No artist of his time could ignore the formative impact of his pieces. Artists flocked in their droves to the publicly exhibited cartoon of the Battle of Cascina for inspiration. The expressive and elongated figures in the Sistine Chapel frequently served as a starting point for the decorative exaggerations of mannerist artists. The rediscovery of the ancient Greco-Roman idea of the ideal body during Michelangelo’s lifetime led to revolutionary advances in the depiction of the human anatomy. As a result, new standards were set in terms of proportion, contour, volume, foreshortening and movement. This exhibition presents the most significant and beautiful works owned by the Albertina of the artistic depiction of the human body from the early Renaissance to the start of the 20th century. The pieces on display are an impressive demonstration of the emergence of the canon, its progressive development and ultimately also its decline over time.


The Albertina Museum. Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, Austria. From September 14th, 2023 until January 14th, 2024