Paul Cadmus

Paul Cadmus, “Nude #1”, Nude #2, and “Nude #3”, Etchings, 1984

After traveling to Italy in the early 1930s, American artist Paul Cadmus became fascinated with Renaissance art, particularly the works of painters Luca Signorelli, known for his structure of the nude, and Andrea Mantegna, known for his strongly marked forms of design and the parallel hatching used to portray shadow.  Cadmus adopted certain Renaissance drawing techniques, especially when rendering male nudes.

Cadmus placed nudes like these in tight boxes, focusing on how the tension of the body conveys physical and emotional struggle. The lines in the background  imply a shifting momentum from left and right toward the center. Like Michelangelo, he rendered his nudes sculpturally, employing finely hatched lines to define their musculature and to create the effect of light reflecting on marble.

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