The Easel

Prado nudes on view in fascinating exhibit at the Clark

The Hapsburg kings were, for a time, Europe’s wealthiest and they had a particular art interest – nudes. Renaissance thinking opened up aesthetic and erotic perspectives on the nude quite at odds with religious interpretations. This made the art potentially dangerous: “self-contradiction — a kind of warning against the very act of looking at naked flesh — was often built into the paintings themselves”.