In 1899 Gustav Klimt's painting Nuda Veritas shook up the Austrian public with what many deem to be the painter's most political exploration of the nude female body. Klimt's provocative allegory challenged viewers to consider their own beliefs about the relationship between the nude (female) body and contemporary morality; this "naked truth" was shocking. Transcending accusations of pornography, Klimt's work paved the way for artistic examinations of the nude body as the site through which questions of freedom, desire, beauty, nature, culture, power, and their antonyms could be represented and negotiated. Taking these ideas as one critical point of departure, this volume and the accompanying exhibition feature selected prints, drawings, and watercolors by Klimt, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Max Beckmann and Kathe Kollwitz, among others. It explores the conceptions of the human body and the manner of its visualization in the period leading up to and following the First World War, which changed the world's notions of flesh and blood forever. The book will appeal to students and scholars of German and Austrian art and culture.
ELIZA GARRISON is associate professor of art history in Middlebury's Department of History of Art and Architecture. Her research focuses on the art of the Carolingian and Ottonian empires, the historiography of medieval art, and, most recently, the importance of mimesis, copying, and simulacra in the early Middle Ages. She is also broadly interested in processes of political representation, theories of portraiture, and New Objectivity. BETTINA MATTHIAS is professor of German and chair of Middlebury College's German Department, as well as director of Middlebury's summer German Language School. A scholar of early twentieth century German and Austrian literature and culture, her publications aim at transcending disciplinary boundaries and reconstructing the zeitgeist that informed many artists' efforts at both reflecting and shaping their times. In addition to engaging in academic scholarship, Matthias is also active as a theater and opera director and performing pianist. JAMES A. VAN DYKE is associate professor of modern European art in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Missouri. His research has largely focused on German art and visual culture between the world wars, with particular attention to the relationships between artistic modernism, antidemocratic ideology, and right-wing politics. In addition to articles and essays, he is the author of Franz Radziwill and the Contradictions of German Art History, 1919-45, and is currently working on a second book, Otto Dix: German Painting in the Age of Chaplin.