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The Male Nude: Eighteenth-century drawings from the Paris Academy

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'Nude man sleeping and leaning on a rock…' (1742)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Seated man, leaning on his right arm' (1789)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Sleeping man, legs bent' (1687)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Man standing, striking a bull' (1790)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Male, lying down' (undated)

© ENSBA, Paris

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Study of a man sat on a rock (undated)

© ENSBA, Paris

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Male seated, face on, arms raised (undated)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Man seated on the ground, head turned to the left' (undated)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Man lying down, legs bent' (1687)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Male, stretched out, right arm raise' (1769)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Study of a man lying down…' (1739)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Man viewed from behind, leaning to the left' (1782)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Male, standing, viewed from the back, left knee raised' (undated)

© ENSBA, Paris

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'Two men lying on the body of a horse' (undated)

© ENSBA, Paris

To show your worth as an artist in eighteenth-century France, you had to be adept at capturing the male human form. Nearly 40 drawings of scantly clad men by artists including François Boucher and Jean-Marc Nattier go on display in the lavish setting of the Wallace with their notable collection of French eighteenth-century paintings. Ladies, avert your eyes.

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Henry

Wonderful exhibition giving an insight into the development of creative talent in 18C. Really enjoyed the way the exhibition was linked to examples of later work by some of the artists held in the permanent collection. Well worth a visit - especially as it is free!

Curated London

The Wallace Collection is best known as the home of Frans Hals’ famous Laughing Cavalier. It is comprised of the expansive art collection of four Marquesses of Hertford and, latterly, Lord Wallace. They also put on a terrific programme of temporary exhibitions, of which this is one. The world-renowned École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris was founded in the late 17th Century to train French artists to rival the Italians. A thorough grounding in drawing was central to the rigorous training programme, and life drawing formed a key component. The French believed that the nude male form was the epitome of beauty. And who are we to argue? This exhibition presents 37 works in chalk and charcoal from the École’s archive. Each image captures the artistic fashion of the day: strong, sinewy demigods in poses from classical mythology. While the model’s modesty isn’t preserved in many of the images, they transcend the sexual to focus solely on the aesthetic. While the permanent collection contains relatively few drawings, they do have an outstanding range of 18th Century French paintings. Each of these painters would not have been worthy of collection by the Hertfords had it not been for the lessons they learned from making these drawings. This temporary exhibition therefore provides a useful background and context for the works in oil upstairs. For more of the latest London arts reviews, check out www.curatedlondon.co.uk | @curatedlondon