Study of a Nude Youth
Study of a Nude Youth, ca. 1800-1817
Black and white chalks on blue laid paper
56.5 x 28.6 cm (22 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Gustav Radeke 29.083
(June 5 –October 26, 2008)
The acquisition of this drawing is the end result of an informative exchange between Mrs. Eliza Radeke and her art agent, Martin Birnbaum, regarding the suitability of nudes in a public gallery such as the RISD Museum. On May 7, 1929, Birnbaum wrote from Paris to inform Mrs. Radeke of several studies of nudes available for purchase, stating, “I do not know the conditions in your life classes, — but I hope you will see the wisdom of acquiring such admirable works by great masters, to inspire students while they are working.” A study by Delacroix of a nude model nicknamed “Polonais” he described as “a great thing for students, but it may be considered unsuitable for a public gallery.” He added, “I am very conservative when I advise, and that will explain my attitude about the ‘Polonais,’….” A female figure by Pierre-Olivier Dubaut was “charming and modest…and could be shown in any gallery.” Mrs. Radeke did not buy either of the drawings. She did, however, purchase this academic nude by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, mentioned in the same letter. Was it deemed the most appropriate for a public audience?(August 19, 2005 – January 22, 2006)
Throughout his life, Prud’hon made studies from a live model as private exercises unrelated to other work. He kept these in his studio and occasionally gave them to friends
Selection VFrench Watercolors and Drawings, ca. 1800-1910
Contributions byChampa, Kermit S.
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1975
TypeMonographs and CollectionsFrom Dürer to Van GoghGifts from Eliza Greene Radeke and Helen Metcalf Danforth
Edited ByLiese, Jennifer, ed.
Contributions byEmily J. Peters
Publisher & DateMuseum of Art Rhode Island School of Design, 2008
Sarah Whitfield, The Academic Tradition: An Exhibition of Nineteenth-Century French Drawings Arranged by the Indiana University Art Museum. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Art Museum, 1968.