The Dresden Venus of Giorgione c. Although they reflect the proportions of ancient statuary, such figures as Titian's Venus and the Lute Player and Venus of Urbino highlight the sexuality of the female body rather than its ideal geometry. In addition to adult male and female figures, the classical depiction of Eros became the model for the naked Christ child. Raphael in his later years is usually credited as the first artist to consistently use female models for the drawings of female figures, rather than studio apprentices or other boys with breasts added, who were previously used. The nude figure drawing or figure study of a live model rapidly became an important part of artistic practice and training, and remained so until the 20th century.
Creation of Adam by Michelangelo.
Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Reclining Nymph by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Rebellious Slave by Michelangelo. Venus by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The Fall — by Hugo van der Goes. In Baroque art, the continuing fascination with classical antiquity influenced artists to renew their approach to the nude, but with more naturalistic, less idealized depictions, perhaps more frequently working from live models.
Peter Paul Rubens , who with evident delight painted women of generous figure and radiant flesh, gave his name to the adjective rubenesque. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, classical subjects remained popular, along with nudes in historical paintings. In the later nineteenth century, academic painters continued with classical themes, but were challenged by the Impressionists.
Edgar Degas painted many nudes of women in ordinary circumstances, such as taking a bath. The Age of Bronze by Rodin , modeled after a Belgian soldier. The Wave by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. Red Nude by Amedeo Modigliani. Although both the Academic tradition and Impressionists lost their cultural supremacy at the beginning of the twentieth century, the nude remained although transformed by the ideas of modernism. The idealized Venus was replaced by the woman intimately depicted in private settings, as in the work of Egon Schiele.
One of the primary influences in the rise of abstraction, the critic Clement Greenberg , had supported de Kooning's early abstract work. Despite Greenberg's advice, the artist, who had begun as a figurative painter, returned to the human form in early with his Woman series. Although having some references to the traditions of single female figures, the women were portrayed as voracious, distorted, and semi-abstract.
According to the artist, he wanted to "create the angry humor of tragedy"; having the frantic look of the atomic age, a world in turmoil, a world in need of comic relief. Later, he said "Maybe I was painting the woman in me. Art isn't a wholly masculine occupation, you know. I'm aware that some critics would take this to be an admission of latent homosexuality If I painted beautiful women, would that make me a non-homosexual? I like beautiful women. In the flesh—even the models in magazines.
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Women irritate me sometimes. I painted that irritation in the Woman series. Other New York artists of this period retained the figure as their primary subject. Alice Neel painted nudes, including her own self-portrait, in the same straightforward style as clothed sitters,  being primarily concerned with color and emotional content. As a young artist in the s, Pearlstein exhibited both abstracts and figures, but it was deKooning that advised him to continue with figurative work. Around , from feminist principles, Sylvia Sleigh painted a series of works reversing stereotypical artistic themes by featuring naked men in poses usually associated with women.
Lucien Freud was one of a small group of painters which included Francis Bacon who came to be known as "The School of London"; creating figurative work in the s when it was unfashionable. His "stark and revealing paintings of friends and intimates, splayed nude in his studio, recast the art of portraiture and offered a new approach to figurative art". The paintings of Jenny Saville include family and self-portraits among other nudes; often done in extreme perspectives, attempting to balance realism with abstraction; all while expressing how a woman feels about the female nude.
Two 'subjects' confronting each other. The end of the twentieth century saw the rise of new media and approaches to art, although they began much earlier. In particular installation art often includes images of the human body, and performance art frequently includes nudity. Audience members were requested to come on stage and begin cutting away her clothing until she was naked. Bala Krishna dancing, sculpture from Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Kitagawa Utamaro , Bathing woman c Old-Babylonian plaque of a nude female with a large pubic area and a protuberant abdomen, from Southern Mesopotamia.
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In art, a figure drawing is a study of the human form in its various shapes and body postures , with line, form, and composition as the primary objective, rather than the subject person. A life drawing is a work that has been drawn from an observation of a live model. Study of the human figure has traditionally been considered the best way to learning how to draw, beginning in the late Renaissance and continuing to the present. Japanese prints are one of the few non-western traditions that can be called nudes, but they are quite different.
The activity of communal bathing in Japan is portrayed as just another social activity, without the significance placed upon the lack of clothing that exists in the West. Oil paint historically has been the ideal medium for depicting the nude. By blending and layering paint, the surface can become more like skin. Due to its durability, it is in sculpture that we see the full, nearly unbroken history of the nude from the Stone Age to the present.
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Figures, usually of the naked female, have been found in the Balkan region dating back to 7, BCE  and continue to this day to be generated. In the Indian and Southeast Asian sculpture tradition nudes were frequently adorned with bracelets and jewelry that tended to "punctuate their charms and demarcate the different parts of their bodies much as developed musculature does in the male.
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The nude has been a subject of photography almost since its invention in the nineteenth century. Early photographers often selected poses that imitated the classical nudes of the past. In the late twentieth century several new art forms have emerged, including installations , performance , and video art all of which have been used to create works that include nudity.
While there is no single definition of fine art, there are certain generally accepted features of most definitions. In the fine arts, the subject is not merely copied from nature, but transformed by the artist into an aesthetic object, usually without significant utilitarian, commercial advertising , illustration , or purely decorative purposes.
There is also a judgement of taste; the fine art nude being part of high culture rather than middle brow or low culture. Modern artists have continued to explore classical themes, but also more abstract representations, and movement away from idealization to depict people more individually. During most of the twentieth century, the depiction of human beauty was of little interest to modernists, who were concerned instead with the creation of beauty through formal means.
The most often cited book on the nude in art history is The Nude: The introductory chapter makes the most often-quoted distinction  between the naked body and the nude. Clark states that to be naked is to be deprived of clothes, and implies embarrassment and shame, while a nude, as a work of art, has no such connotations. This separation of the artistic form from the social and cultural issues remains largely unexamined by classical art historians. One of the defining characteristics of the modern era in art is the blurring of the line between the naked and the nude. This likely first occurred with the painting The Nude Maya by Goya, which in drew the attention of the Spanish Inquisition.
Goya then painted another version, with clothes. Some of the same characteristics were shocking almost 70 years later when Manet exhibited his Olympia , not because of religious issues, but because of its modernity. Rather than being a timeless Odalisque that could be safely viewed with detachment, Manet's image was of a prostitute of that time, perhaps referencing the male viewers' own sexual practices.
Art historian and author, Frances Borzello says that contemporary artists are no longer interested in the ideals and traditions of the past, but confront the viewer with all the sexuality, discomfort and anxiety that the unclothed body may express, perhaps eliminating the distinction between the naked and the nude. Kenneth Clark noted that sexuality was part of the attraction to the nude as a subject of art, stating "no nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling, even though it be only the faintest shadow—and if it does not do so it is bad art and false morals.
Some individuals judge any public display of the unclothed body to be unacceptable,  while others may find artistic merit in explicitly sexual images. Public reviews of art may or may not address the issue. The nude, particularly the female body, has always been one of the more obvious subjects of work in museums. However, in the United States nudity in art is a controversial subject when public funding and display in certain venues brings the work to the attention of the general public.
At the same time that any nude may be suspect in the view of many patrons and the public, art critics may reject work that is not either ironic or fetishistic, and therefore cutting edge. According to Bram Dijkstra, attractive nudes by American artists have been relegated to storage by museums, with only rare special exhibits or publications in recent decades. Relatively tame nudes tend to be shown in museums, while works with shock value such as those by Jeff Koons  are shown in cutting-edge galleries. Dijkstra says the art world has devalued simple beauty and pleasure, although these values are present in art from the past and in many contemporary works.
When school groups visit museums, there are inevitable questions that teachers or tour leaders must be prepared to answer.
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The basic advice is to give matter-of-fact answers emphasizing the differences between art and other images, the universality of the human body, and the values and emotions expressed in the works. In classical works, children were rarely shown except for babies and putti. Before the era of Freudian psychoanalysis, children were assumed to have no sexual feelings before puberty , so naked children were shown as symbols of pure innocence. Boys often swam nude, and were shown doing so in paintings by John Singer Sargent , George Bellows , and others. Other images were more erotic, either symbolically or explicitly.
Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth. Men and women did not receive equal opportunities in nude training during the Renaissance.
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Female artists were not allowed access to nude models and could not participate in this part of the arts education. During this time period the study of the nude figure was something all male artists were expected to go through to become an artist of worth and to be able to create History Paintings. Academic art history tends to ignore the sexuality of the male nude, speaking instead of form and composition. For much of history, nude men represented martyrs and warriors, emphasizing an active role rather than the passive one assigned to women in art.
Alice Neel and Lucien Freud painted the modern male nude in the classic reclining pose, with the genitals prominently displayed. Sylvia Sleigh painted versions of classic works with the genders reversed. The Greek goddesses were initially sculpted with drapery rather than nude. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Yeggs, jackrollers, footpads, and more. Stuck in the middle with usage. Focusing in on what we do best. And is one way more correct than the others?
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