ddition, in 1508, he visited Rome and returned with visions of bare flesh, erotic vigor and Adam and Eve in the exact transition from naked to almost nude. This pleased his patron Philip of Burgundy who asked him to make portraits of girls for his walls. However, not everybody was pleased with the explicit portraits of Adam and Eve such as the diarist John Evelyn, and they started criticizing Gossaert’s work. Nevertheless, Gossaert continued to make more nude figures despite the criticism and his exhibition has received more than eighty works from all over the world. This paper will discuss John Gossaert’s treatment of classical nude figure in the renaissance art of the period1400-1550.
The admiration for Gossaert’s intriguing works of art from Van Mander and Durer make it frustrating that there is quite a few drawings and painting that can be linked to him. He mostly worked alone although is said to have collaborated with a few other landscape painters and other artists such as Gerald David. According to Elkins (2008. p.42), Gossaert excelled particularly in making single panel paintings and portraits, which were about half of his work. Most of his work involved biblical and devotional themes such as those of the Virgin and Child, Adam and Eve, and some episode from the Passion of Christ among others (Grössinger, 1997. P. 13). He also introduced mythological themes, which had nude figures with high eroticism. However, his treatment of nude figures was not limited to mythological themes only but was also essential in his devotional and biblical themes such as the drawings and paintings of the Virgin and Child and Adam and Eve.
The biblical theme of Adam and Eve of 1520 shows the influence of Rome on Gossaert’s work. The painting gave Gossaert an opportunity to express the male and female nudes at a life size scale in some of his paintings. He impacts a biblical story of the origin of knowledge of sex through the two figures of Adam and Eve entangled in