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Daniel Ludwig’s Historically Inspired Nudes Mix Tension, Beauty

Daniel Ludwig’s classically rendered nude figures appear to be derived from both a world of idealized beauty and one that is rife with human drama. Though beautiful, his paintings are filled with tension, as the subjects often appear in conflict with each other and their surroundings. In an artist statement, Ludwig writes that his recent work reflects "a yearning for classic beauty [which] coexists with struggle and chaos."


Daniel Ludwig’s classically rendered nude figures appear to be derived from both a world of idealized beauty and one that is rife with human drama. Though beautiful, his paintings are filled with tension, as the subjects often appear in conflict with each other and their surroundings. In an artist statement, Ludwig writes that his recent work reflects “a yearning for classic beauty [which] coexists with struggle and chaos.”



Rendered in oil on canvas, Ludwig’s subjects are often saturated with color, caught up in a web of tangled limbs, or fragmented and transparent against romantic landscapes. In his artist statement, Ludwig notes the “shattered perfection of their forms” which is “meant to mimic the evocative power of historic sculptural fragments such as the Elgin Marbles or Pergamon frieze.”



Ludwig’s recent output is a noted departure from his earlier efforts, which the artist describes as “a world, distilled and graceful, to serve as a respite from the prosaic nature of everyday distractions.” His newest works are undermined with “everyday grief and anger”, inspired by turbulent political events and personal loss.




Throughout his works are various references to Western art – from early Renaissance to Cubism – and narratives which reveal “emotional truths” about human life. “Disfruta”, for instance, re-imagines two famous fresco paintings, Masaccio’s “The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden” and Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”, except Ludwig’s version is set amidst the rubble of modern industrialization.

Other works include “Raft”, alluding to Théodore Géricault’s “Raft of the Medusa”, and “Desmoiselles”, a take on Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”.

Daniel Ludwig was born in 1959 in Denver, Colorado. He currently lives and works in Berkley, Massachusetts with his wife and fellow artist, Anne Leone. Ludwig also creates art in the form of watercolors and bronze sculpture and drawings. The artist is currently part of a group exhibition titled “From NYC with Love Part III”, on view at Galerie Friedmann-Hahn in Berlin through October 29, 2016.

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