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LAA show – The Essential Nude: Figurative Fine Art

Yesterday evening, my wife and I attended the reception (artists LOVE receptions, usually with wine! :-) ) for the Livermore Art Association (LAA) show, “The Essential Nude” at the Bothwell Art Center, 2466 Eighth Street, in Livermore, California. The exhibition is the 3rd Annual occurrence of this celebration of the human form and runs from today, April 15 through April 17, this weekend ONLY, from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM. I congratulate Livermore artist, Barbara Stanton, for the collection of local talent that she and others brought together for the show and all of the exhibiting artists for their fine work! I am continually AMAZED by the abilities of artists in the LAA organization!

Auguste Rodin (François-Auguste-René Rodin 1840-1917) said:

Man’s naked form belongs to no particular moment in history; it is eternal , and can be looked upon with joy by the people of all ages.

Though not, as I was once again reminded at the 2011 Spring Art Show (1, 2, 3), by ALL people of all ages…. :-) A visitor to that show asked me whether I was aware of a single painting at that show that was a nude figure study. (I think that the 2010 show had about three.) I told the visitor that I was, and I reminded her that Michelangelo sculpted “David” in the nude. Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni lived from 1475 to 1564. (The Wikipedia article states the the statue was originally placed in a public square outside the seat of government in Florence, Italy, before it was moved to the Accademia Gallery in Florence in 1873 and later replaced by a replica at the original location.)

Although I was a little surprised that I was having this conversation in 2011, I respect the opinions and religious beliefs of others. So I say this…. the artistic nudes of “The Essential Nude” are exactly that – artistic nudes, not pornography nor even erotic art. Even so, if your personal beliefs restrict you from viewing such art or bringing your children, please do not attend. And I should also say this… that not all of the figure studies in the show are of nudes.

The central courtyard of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco (1, 2; I love the place so much that I accidentally blogged about it TWICE in the same year!) is dominated by a large statue of Rodin’s “Le Penseur” (“The Thinker”), originally “The Poet,” which is nude to represent an heroic figure in the tradition of Michelangelo and represents intellect as well as poetry. I hope that its presence does not stop many people from attending the wonderful museum and from bringing their children. :-)

Two other quotes by August Rodin reminded me of (first) the similarity of artists and scientists and (secondly) of their differences:

“To any artist, worthy of the name, all in nature is beautiful, because his eyes, fearlessly accepting all exterior truth, read there, as in an open book, all the inner truth.”

“There are unknown forces in nature; when we give ourselves wholly to her, without reserve, she lends them to us; she shows us these forms, which our watching eyes do not see, which our intelligence does not understand or suspect.”

Local folks and Bay Area visitors – please enjoy the show!

-Bill at

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