The Human Figure in Art

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The Human Figure in Art

April 14, 2023 at 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM

El Greco's painting of Laocoon

Humanum Review, the online journal of the John Paul II Institute, invites you to a lecture on “The Human Figure in Art” by art historian Dr. Sarah Bond.

The event will be held on Friday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine (3900 Harewood Road Northeast Washington, DC 20017) with a cocktail reception to follow.

Admission is free. RSVP here to reserve a free ticket.

The depiction of the human figure is central to the history of art. But how do artists depict the inner aspects of the person—emotions, spirit, suffering? In this lecture we will look at how artists use expressive means such as distortion, extension, and the dematerialization of the body to convey inner life. We will look in detail at several works by El Greco, studying the poses, gestures, and visual qualities of particular figures. Jumping back in time, we’ll look at El Greco’s roots in medieval and Byzantine figural art. Finally, we’ll turn to two modern masters of the expressive human figure, Rodin and Picasso, both of whom were influenced by El Greco and both of whom depicted “spiritualized” figures in a secular context.

Sarah Bond is an art historian and independent scholar with a Ph.D. in Medieval Art from Harvard University.  You may read her recent Humanum article on Georgia O’Keeffe’s Affection for Things.

Human Figure in Art Event with Sara Bond poster



April 14, 2023
6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Category:


Saint John Paul II National Shrine
3900 Harewood Road, NE
Washington, DC 20017 United States
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The Expressive Human Figure in Painting and Sculpture

YouTube video