THE NUDE: A STUDY IN IDEAL FORM, a classic investigation and summation, is one of scholar/historian Kenneth Clark's finest works - and that is high powered praise in view of all of his contributions to literature. Few writers inform with such dignity of prose, style, and warmth as Clark and THE NUDE is no exception. This handsome and illuminating volume dates back to 1953 and is based on six lectures given by Clark for the A. W. Mellon Lectures in Fine Arts at the National Gallery in Washington, DC. Clark opens his book with a lyrical treatise "The Naked and the Nude" in which he not only introduces his manner of examining the use of the nude as pictorial image for artists from ancient Greece through the Renaissance to the present, he wraps his scholarly information with personalized psychosocial commentary that is uniquely his own and allows the reader to settle in for the exploration ahead. Approaching first the male nude ["Apollo"] from the Kouros of 600 BC through the vases, sculptures, reliefs, and paintings from all periods of history, he then moves to two views of the female nude - Venus I [the celestial female form] and Venus II [the woman of earthly form]. Having laid the foundation for the use of the nude in general, he then addresses the artistic emotions of Pathos, Energy, and Ecstasy in a manner that is near novel-like in reading. He closes his lecture series/book with a thought-provoking discussion of how man has viewed the nude through history, vacillating between laud and honor to the depiction of guilt, of the human stain. And finally he demonstrates in "The Nude As An End In Itself" both the occult appropriation of repeated forms and the acknowledged plagiarism of the nude studies from the earliest to the current. The Book is generously illustrated but in the paperback version available the illustrations are in black and white only. This profound and warmly human book is a must for artists and art lovers alike. Highly Recommended. And as is so often the case, Amazon.com does its readers a great service by finding ways to make books of such importance as this available to the public.