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Perfectly Imperfect
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Perfectly Imperfect: Cranach, Dürer and the Renaissance Nude

Sensuous Greek goddesses cast inviting glances at the viewer; a winged nude with powerful proportions floats above a panoramic landscape; four women, naked except for elaborate headdresses, stand huddled in a conspiratorial group.

Remarkably lifelike and engaging, these nudes represent the beauty ideals of two prominent artists of the Northern Renaissance: Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach the Elder. While Dürer relied on a system of precise mathematical measurements when depicting the human body, Cranach developed a distinctive figural type whose attenuated bodies did not conform to Renaissance ideals of harmony and mathematical proportion.

The exhibition Perfectly Imperfect: Cranach, Dürer and the Renaissance Nude will feature a selection of prints and paintings drawn primarily from the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Two significant loans from the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Linda Hall Library will provide a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of these two artists and their widely-divergent approach to the female form.

For groups interested in learning more about the artwork on view in this exhibition, please request a European Art Collection tour and request in the notes that the exhibition be included as part of the tour.

Organized by The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Albrecht Durer, Nemesis The Three Graces by Cranach the Elder

Image: Albrecht Dürer, German, 1471–1528. Nemesis, about 1501–1502, Engraving on beige laid paper. Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 35-44/1. Lucas Cranach the Elder, German, 1472–1553. The Three Graces, 1535, Oil on wood panel, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 57-1.