What you see is where you're at

  • 28th November 2009 − 28th February 2010 | Modern One (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) | Admission free


Drawing and the Human Form
Drawing is the oldest and most immediate form of art and, very often, the human form is the subject. Figurative drawing can produce very different effects, such as the intense psychological observation of Oskar Kokoschka's portrait of Alma Mahler in contrast to the lively forms of Edward Burra's Honky-Tonk Girl. Though the function of drawing has often been one of immediate record, it allows for flights of fancy, as in the imaginary narratives of Charles Avery.

The Artist as Subject
Many artists have chosen themselves as a subject for their art, utilising their own body to explore universal ideas of human experience. Here, concepts of roles, stereotypes and identities are often confronted, as well as questions of representation.

Ideas about identity and the individual are also reflected in artists' portrayals of human heads. In portraiture, the intention has often been to convey a likeness but in the twentieth century, especially after the Second World War, artists often used the human head to tackle issues of violence or anxiety.

Post-War Figure Art
The figure remained vital for many artists in the twentieth century, such as Picasso, Bacon and Freud. Picasso was devoted to depicting the human, usually female, body while Bacon developed his own, very personal, anguished view of the human body after the Second World War. For Lucien Freud, the body is more an objective fact that he tries to capture in paint.


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