POLLAIUOLO, Antonio del
(b. 1431/32, Firenze, d. 1498, Roma)

Battle of Ten Nudes

1470s
Engraving, 428 x 618 mm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

The purpose and meaning of this engraving, prominently inscribed with the artist's name, is open for interpretation. It represents ten male nudes seen from different views, and was possibly used by artists in the workshop as a means of figure study. The composition may also be seen as a series of five one-to-one confrontations, in the manner of the Hercules and Antaeus.

The figures, disposed iin a variety of poses nad movements, in foreshoertening and in profile, show a carefully rendered internal structure, with muscles given emphasis (too much for Leonardo, who wrote that such figures appeared like "a sack of walnuts").

The meaning of the print, other tnan a battle, has yet to be explained, but it served as a pattern for other artists.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 12 minutes):
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber: The Battle, suite