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The Naked and the Clothed

The focus of interest in art has always been people: attired, dressed, or naked. Depicting the human form has also been a central part of the study of art. Nude models and studies of humans have been drawn and painted in art schools and studios. Such works have always reflected something about the ideals of beauty, prevailing norms, and goals of art in different periods.

A person wearing clothes can nevertheless be quite naked. We read meanings from clothes and outfits and interpret what each artist wants to communicate with them.

The works in the exhibition have also been adorned with meanings. In portraits, a person’s clothes, outfit, and accessories, as well as the environment where they are depicted reveal aspects of the status of the person wearing them, the prevailing fashion and styles of the time, and the general conventions of depiction. Viewed as a whole, the works also reveal something about their creator – the actual artist, and the artist’s relationship with the person being depicted.

The exhibition at the Riihimäki Art Museum has nude studies on display, as well as personal studies with stunning clothing and showy hats. The exhibition offers vantage point to the theme of the exhibition through the collections of the Riihimäki Art Museum, primarily paintings, sculptures, and graphic works from the first half of the 20th century.

The exhibition includes works from artists including Hugo Backmansson, Eva Bagge, Gunnar Finne, Matti Haupt, Ester Helenius, Kosti Meriläinen, Ingrid Ruin, Helene Schjerfbeck, Louis Sparre, Ville Vallgren, Dora Wahlroos and Anders Zorn. The works are primarily from the Tatjana and Pentti Wähäjärvi collection of the Riihimäki Art Museum.