This event was hosted by Humanum Review, the quarterly online journal of the John Paul II Institute.
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.
Dr. Sarah Bond is an art historian and independent scholar with a Ph.D. in Medieval Art from Harvard University.