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Old 04-02-2010, 12:24 AM
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JKOOPS JKOOPS is offline
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Nude Tabu

my trhead its about nude in arts, last day i went to the computers to print some material to paint about and 1 of the image its a nude women in artistic position no in prono position , and i think wow looks grat but the quetion its can any know about a site of arttisitc nude resources not prono please , or any tip ecause im going to study that theme in painting

thank you seeya
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:40 AM
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Re: Nude Tabu

JKOOPS - hop over to the Figure Forum here on WC; there's tons of resources and lots of artists who work with nudes.
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Old 04-02-2010, 11:57 AM
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Re: Nude Tabu

Virtual Pose comes to mind as one source. It is a series of DVD/CDROMs of artistic nudes for reference.

Image search on-line is probably not the best way of finding references...I don't think google does a good job sorting "artistic" from "pornographic".
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:09 PM
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Re: Nude Tabu

Quote:
Originally Posted by JKOOPS
--or any tip ecause im going to study that theme in painting.

If you're going to research the nude figure in painting, it will be difficult to avoid the "grey area" between "art" and "pornography", and nearly impossible to avoid the "grey area" between painting and photography (as it is practically impossible to avoid discussions of erotic and/or pornographic imagery when discussing the history of photography in general. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to discuss contemporary painting, without including the influence of film on contemporary visual imagery, as well.)

A good place to start would be Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae, as well as Alyce Mahon's Eroticism and Art. If you're interested in a conservative viewpoint on the matter, Roger Shattuck's Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography is excellent--but Shattuck deals mostly with literature (particularly Sade), rather than visual art.
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:36 PM
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Re: Nude Tabu

I must agree with Keith in that it is difficult to avoid the "gray area" where the "tasteful" nude and pornography overlap... because what is simply a tasteful nude to some (even historical works such as Michelangelo's David or Ruben's portrait of his wife in a fur wrap) can be seen as "pornographic" to others. There is also the reality that it is almost impossible to avoid the element of the erotic when it comes to the nude. The poet William Butler Yeats declared "I am still of opinion that only two topics can be of the least interest to a serious and studious mood - sex and death." (EROS and MORT) I tend to agree... although under the umbrella of "death" we find questions of mortality and immortality, violence, aging, illness, etc... while under that of "sex" we include love, lust, birth, the fecundity of nature, etc... Nevertheless, I agree that there has long been more than a passing relationship between art and eroticism... EROS... even (especially) during the Renaissance. We can speak of the idea of the naked body as simply a beautiful abstract form or as an expression of some philosophic idea (via Neo-Platonism of the Renaissance) but this ignores the obvious, best expressed by Sir Kenneth Clark in his classic book, The Nude (A Study in Ideal Form):

The human body is rich in associations... and when it is turned into art these associations are not entirely lost... It is ourselves and arouses memories of all the things we wish to do with ourselves; and first of all we wish to perpetuate ourselves.

This is an aspect of the subject so obvious I hardly need to dwell upon it, and yet some wise men have tried to close their eyes to it. "If the nude," says Professor Alexander, "is so treated that it raises in the spectator ideas or desires appropriate to the material subject, it is false art and bad morals." This high-minded theory is contrary to experience... And since the words of a famous philosopher are often quoted, it is necessary to labor the obvious and say that no nude, however abstract, should fail to rouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling- even though it be only the faintest shadow- if it does not do so, it is bad art and false morals. The desire to grasp and be united with another human body is so fundamental a part of our human nature, that our judgment of what is known as "pure form" is invariably influenced by it; and one of the difficulties of the nude as a subject matter is that these instincts cannot be hidden...


To that extent it is not an absurd notion to question the difference between the nude in a great work of art and the pornographic image or pin-up photo. At some level they both have the same intentions or speak to the same desires. The reality is that the internet is full of nude images of varying degrees of "explicitness"... some you may find of use as reference material or inspiration for painting... most you will not. I doubt that I could name a single site or other source that you would find ideal in meeting your needs because I have no way of really knowing what exactly you are looking for or what your standards are with regard to drawing the line between Art and Porno.
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Old 04-02-2010, 04:10 PM
Tintin-in-Singapore Tintin-in-Singapore is offline
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Re: Nude Tabu

I would agree that there is a grey area at some popular levels when it comes to the nude in the arts. Once when Helmut Newton was asked what he did - he said sarcastically "I'm a pornographer". (Probably the top fashion photographer of the 20th century.) Then again he was deliberately creating images to sell.
However the argument that the nude "must" raise an erotic feeling ignores the obvious. If that were the case no man would ever be able to be a gynacologist. And personally anyone who gets too excited about seeing a naked body probably needs to get out more.
It is very much possible to appreciate the wonder of the human body without getting all hot under the collar. Many professions do it everyday.
The other obvious issue is that it is tied in too much with culture, bare breasts may be seen as erotic in some repressed places, in others it would barely be noticed. That applies to modern and historical cultures.
A page 3 girl in the London papers barely raises and eyelid, but even belly buttons had to be airbrushed out of US advertisements. And since gymnasium basically means naked in classical Greek I doubt the idea of a naked man was a big shock to them.
So I seriously doubt that every painter or viewer of nude men had homoerotic thoughts and god forbid all the ones that painted nude children with little wings had other intentions.
The only way a nude can be a big deal is if your not used to it for whatever bizzare reason. In which case a walk around the Louvre would really get you going, although surfing the net would probably be an easier way to satisfy that urge.
As an aside, many of the masters of art when it comes to nudity, whether it be painting, photography, fashion or whatever seem to have an asexual attitude which probably allows them to concentrate on form in a better way.
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:50 PM
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Re: Nude Tabu

However the argument that the nude "must" raise an erotic feeling ignores the obvious. If that were the case no man would ever be able to be a gynacologist. And personally anyone who gets too excited about seeing a naked body probably needs to get out more.

As a professional one is able to focus upon one's job... in spite of the fact that it is quite unlikely that a doctor is able to turn off his responses to an attractive person in the nude. Certainly this exists in the relationship between the artist and model... in spite of it being largely an unspoken fact in art school. Still we need only look to the history of artists and their affairs with their models... from the old masters to Picasso and Matisse... and beyond.

It is very much possible to appreciate the wonder of the human body without getting all hot under the collar. Many professions do it everyday.The other obvious issue is that it is tied in too much with culture, bare breasts may be seen as erotic in some repressed places, in others it would barely be noticed. That applies to modern and historical cultures.

Yes, there are cultural differences. What was erotic or titillating for one culture is not necessarily so for another. Body types, clothing, hair styles, and other adornments all play into what is considered attractive and thus "erotic".

A page 3 girl in the London papers barely raises and eyelid but even belly buttons had to be airbrushed out of US advertisements....

The "Page 3" girl in Britain is most certainly provocative... a pin-up. Yes, the British have been desensitized enough to such that they accept it where the same would not be allowed in American (or other) newspapers. But this is no different from the fact that belly-buttons... or pubic hair were once taboo... even in "pornographic" publications such as Playboy. What is taboo and under what context changes from culture to culture... generation to generation... it does not change the fact that the naked body still conveys an erotic connotation... One might even notice that the same aspects of the body: breasts, buttocks, etc... remain the focus of the erotic across cultures.

And since gymnasium basically means naked in classical Greek I doubt the idea of a naked man was a big shock to them...

γυμνάσιον or Gymnasium is a term from ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual education of young men. Men and boys often exercised and engaged in physical competition in the nude... but these institutions were fully off-grounds to women. Female nudity was quite unknown in Greek art (with the exceptions of the more intimate ("pornographic") works until later in their history with Praxiteles, etc... But the notion of the Greeks as the ideal for the representation of the body sans the erotic is quite off base considering the proliferation of erotic art and literature among the Greeks. The Neo-Platonic ideal of the body representing an abstract ideal and the perfection of form owes far more to the Renaissance philosophers and theologians who struggled to justify the wealth of nudity in Greek and Roman art.

As an aside, many of the masters of art when it comes to nudity, whether it be painting, photography, fashion or whatever seem to have an asexual attitude which probably allows them to concentrate on form in a better way.

I don't know which version of art history you got this notion from. Art history is laden with nudity and the vast majority of it had a clear erotic intention. Certainly this may not be its only intention... or even the primary intention... but it most certainly is there in the male nudes of Michelangelo, Donatello, Mantegna, Pontormo, Caravaggio, Francis Bacon, George Tooker, Paul Cadmus... and in the female nudes of Titian, Tintoretto, Raphael, Rubens, Ingres, Degas, Manet, Picasso, Matisse, Beckmann, Utamaro, Lucian Freud, etc...
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:44 PM
Tintin-in-Singapore Tintin-in-Singapore is offline
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Re: Nude Tabu

Actually gymnasium is from the noun gymnos (naked) forming the verb gymnazein and literally translates as place to be naked. That is why Pine trees are known as Gymnosperms (naked seed) and so on. However the explicit "porno" art and literature of the ancient Greeks should not be confused with art such as the Knidian Aphrodite and it's spinoffs. That is the equivalent of confusing Renoir with a porn website. The intent and purpose was completely different.

Do you really think people get/got aroused by his "Three bathers", "After the bath" or his gorgeous "Nude in the Sun"? Even at the time the arguments were on technical issues - not nudity. Even in the Victorian period people were not as prudish as has been imagined. And as many French would probably point out that was as much an anglo thing. "Voici l'anglais avec son sang froid habituel".

Although it brings up an interesting issue, since the female nude is some of the oldest art we know of across all cultures. Of which Aphrodite/Venus was just a derivative. For example - Venus of Willendorf of approximately 24000BC. While the sexual features are clearly exagerated, I think it would take an awful lot of twisted imagination to turn it into some sort of marital aid or something the lads joked about on their way back from mammoth hunting.

So the intent/purpose of the art is different. Which (sort of) jumps to the Renaisance with Masaccio getting back into female nudes with Eve. So were the quattrocento painters doing soft/religious porn? or were they striving for realism? The only exception being Bottecilli where his Venus is beautiful - but hardly human either and i think to classify that as erotic would be shallow and probably weird. After Giotti most were striving for realism and conquering technical issues. And from Giotti they all strived for more realistic form.

Ghiberti was about the only one that it is argued included eroticism. His own words though were "I strove to imitate nature as closely as I could, and with all the perspective I could produce". Renaisance art cannot also be divorced from the sweeping new science that was occuring in parallel. This was really the first time that observation and experiment come into play, and to do that you need real bodies - not just taking Galens word for it.

Which is why medicine is a good example, as it's roots are tied very much in with the Renaisance. At the time art and science were not seen as seperate issues. Which is how Renaisance art in particular should be viewed. And personally is one of the tragedies of modern times that art and science are now divorced from each other. Probably also why we are having this debate. And incidentally where modern medical doctors have learnt the idea of "being detached" from the subject.

As an example if you view Michelangelo's David purely in terms of art then you can come up with all sorts of homoerotic ideas. But you are talking about a man who could also design St Peters Basillica as just one example. Again the intent of David was very different - a strive for pure technical form - working with space which we take for granted now. To ignore the science is to not understand Renaisance art.

Indeed the Venus of Willendorf was as probably much "scientific" art to the people who created it. Perhaps some would argue that Michelangelo with his Disegno views saw a gay soft porn statue in the marble block. Of which there is no evidence at all, and would have been foolish given the times. Or he would have kept his private thoughts to himself - and secret - such as his "Rape of Ganymede" - done privately for a 12yo boy - Thommaso de' Cevalieri. Again the intent of the different works was completely different - to confuse them would be a mistake. It would be like saying all gay men can only do things in a gay context and so on.

So it was a lot more than just a fascination with greek art and literature that stimulated the revival of nudity in the Renaisance. Which is really what I meant by "asexual", many of these artists were probably more likely to want dissect a person rather than to get all worked up over the nudity. Most were as much scientist as painter, Da Vinci being the well known example - but he was not the exception. So by asexual I don't mean anything to do with affairs etc. Only that they could detach themselves from the work they were doing. All following in the footsteps of Giotti.

That applies just as much to later artists who up until recently were technical masters of their craft before they even considered doing anything different. For that matter anyone who has ever drawn a female breast knows that your not sitting there thinking "wow this is hot", and if you have classical art training you are more likely to be thinking about the underlying anatomy of the thorax and shoulder.

So I would still argue that nudity in art does not have to be erotic and can be very much asexual - without sex. A desire for pure form, realism or whatever. In the end it comes down to intent.

Beyond that people see what they want to see.
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Old 04-06-2010, 01:15 PM
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Re: Nude Tabu

I have often wanted to assemble a collection of parallel images. Carefully staged and posed photographs replicating "classical" nudes in art work. And paintings done in classical style of images from"pornography".

Is "Miss April" pornographic if her portrait is in oil on canvas rather than ink on paper? Is the "Birth of Venus" pornographic if shot as a photograph?

How much is due to context? A person may feel more comfortable in public in swinwear even if it reveals far more skin than their undergarments would. A breast may be erotic if an adult is sucking on the nipple, but the same breast is not erotic if an infant is suckling.

NYS law now allows women to go topless anywhere that men do, as long their breasts are displayed in "a non-erotic manner". The law however fails to define just what determines if the maner of exposure is erotic or non-erotic. Is this left to the eye of the beholder?
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:23 AM
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Re: Nude Tabu

However the explicit "porno" art and literature of the ancient Greeks should not be confused with art such as the Knidian Aphrodite and it's spinoffs. That is the equivalent of confusing Renoir with a porn website. The intent and purpose was completely different.

The Greek Anthology, among any number of other literary works, is laden with work that is clearly erotic in intent. Eros... love and sex... are unquestionably a major theme of the whole of art history. Of course this does not mean that the expression of the erotic (or arousal) was the central or sole intent of the work of art. Still one would be hard pressed to suggest that the following lack any erotic element:









One might also note that any end of more explicit art can be found among the art of the Greeks and Romans which is in no way mere pornography... any more than the more erotic works of Rodin, Klimt, or Schiele are mere pornography. These often adorned fine ceramics, took the form of sculpture in gardens, or paintings in intimate spaces.

Do you really think people get/got aroused by his "Three bathers", "After the bath" or his gorgeous "Nude in the Sun"? Even at the time the arguments were on technical issues - not nudity. Even in the Victorian period people were not as prudish as has been imagined. And as many French would probably point out that was as much an anglo thing. "Voici l'anglais avec son sang froid habituel".

Again, art may have an erotic content without it being reduced to the merely pornographic... to that with the sole intention of sexual arousal. Eroticism involves the mind more than the loins. Renoir, by the way, is a horrible choice for an artist of the nude sans the erotic. His own quotes are quite damning:

If it wasn't for the female breast I don't think I'd have been an artist!

The most simple subjects are eternal. The nude woman, whether
she emerges from the waves of the sea, or from her bed, is
Venus... and one's imagination cannot conceive anything better.


When I've painted a woman's bottom so that I want to touch it, then it is finished.

and the notorious:

I paint with my p****

Although it brings up an interesting issue, since the female nude is some of the oldest art we know of across all cultures. Of which Aphrodite/Venus was just a derivative. For example - Venus of Willendorf of approximately 24000BC. While the sexual features are clearly exagerated, I think it would take an awful lot of twisted imagination to turn it into some sort of marital aid or something the lads joked about on their way back from mammoth hunting.

Of course the Venus of Willendorf was also a fertility figure... and as such the erotic element is undeniable. But again it seems we are confusing "erotic" with the merely "pornographic".

So the intent/purpose of the art is different. Which (sort of) jumps to the Renaisance with Masaccio getting back into female nudes with Eve. So were the quattrocento painters doing soft/religious porn? or were they striving for realism? The only exception being Bottecilli where his Venus is beautiful - but hardly human either and i think to classify that as erotic would be shallow and probably weird. After Giotti most were striving for realism and conquering technical issues. And from Giotti they all strived for more realistic form.

Admittedly there is little that is erotic to be found in the art of the early Italian Renaissance. Considering the patrons, this is unsurprising. Of course there were complaints (leading to various attempts at iconoclastic strictures) about the "lascivious" nature of the various female saints, angels, eves, and "less than virginal" Virgins (or so it was imagined) as early as the Gothic era:







As the Renaissance blossomed this changes... greatly... and not merely in the art of Botticelli. The greater focus upon earthly beauty was repeatedly blamed and damned by critics including Savonarola... of whom Botticelli later became a follower.

Ghiberti was about the only one that it is argued included eroticism. His own words though were "I strove to imitate nature as closely as I could, and with all the perspective I could produce". Renaisance art cannot also be divorced from the sweeping new science that was occuring in parallel. This was really the first time that observation and experiment come into play, and to do that you need real bodies - not just taking Galens word for it.

Which is why medicine is a good example, as it's roots are tied very much in with the Renaisance. At the time art and science were not seen as seperate issues. Which is how Renaisance art in particular should be viewed. And personally is one of the tragedies of modern times that art and science are now divorced from each other. Probably also why we are having this debate. And incidentally where modern medical doctors have learnt the idea of "being detached" from the subject.

As an example if you view Michelangelo's David purely in terms of art then you can come up with all sorts of homoerotic ideas. But you are talking about a man who could also design St Peters Basillica as just one example. Again the intent of David was very different - a strive for pure technical form - working with space which we take for granted now. To ignore the science is to not understand Renaisance art.


This is truly stretching things... in a manner not unlike the attempts of the theologians of the time... in order to justify the blossoming of the nude as little more than an expression of "ideal form"... now wedded with science rather than religion. But there is no way of denying the element of the erotic which exists in Donatello's David:



Michelangelo's Bacchus:



the good deal of Titian's art:





Certainly there was a great interest in the sciences as they applied to mastering the illusion of realistic form is space: optics, perspective, etc... but one might also do well to remember that the Renaissance was also a period of rediscovery of the Greco-Roman past... including the examples of art and literature. The most popular book of the time, after the Bible, was Ovid's Metamorphoses, a great compendium of Greco-Roman myth... and quite often narratives of the erotic escapades of the Gods. One might also do well to remember the rather earthy tales of the lives of the artists themselves from Fra Filippi Lippi through Sodoma.

So it was a lot more than just a fascination with greek art and literature that stimulated the revival of nudity in the Renaisance. Which is really what I meant by "asexual", many of these artists were probably more likely to want dissect a person rather than to get all worked up over the nudity.

Again... I don't doubt that there is something more than an attempt at arousal going on in any work of art... erotic or otherwise. The notion that these artists were less concerned with sex than the average person, however, is rather a stretch of the imagination.

Most were as much scientist as painter, Da Vinci being the well known example - but he was not the exception. So by asexual I don't mean anything to do with affairs etc. Only that they could detach themselves from the work they were doing. All following in the footsteps of Giotti.

I'll give you Leonardo, Brunelleschi, and Alberti as being as much scientists as artists. Others certainly made studies in areas that may be defined as "scientific" (anatomy, physiology, optics, perspective, engineering... especially for those employed in architecture) but they were far more artists than scientists. As artists their works often focused upon elements of Eros: Love and Sex... erotic narratives from the Greeks and Ovid... to Boccaccio.

continued...
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:24 AM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Re: Nude Tabu

Following Michelengelo, the erotic content... and intent only becomes more and more clear:



















That applies just as much to later artists who up until recently were technical masters of their craft before they even considered doing anything different. For that matter anyone who has ever drawn a female breast knows that your not sitting there thinking "wow this is hot", and if you have classical art training you are more likely to be thinking about the underlying anatomy of the thorax and shoulder.

So I would still argue that nudity in art does not have to be erotic and can be very much asexual - without sex. A desire for pure form, realism or whatever. In the end it comes down to intent.

Beyond that people see what they want to see.


Even if the artist were to create a work that is clearly and unquestionably erotic in intent... one of Egon Schiele's drawings or Klimt's paintings or what have you, the process of creating the work of art is not a process in which the artist is aroused and overwhelmed with lust any more than the work in which the artist attempts to convey anger or sadness must be completed in a state of anger or sadness. To ignore the erotic element... natural to the whole of humanity... however is pure formalist bunk that hasn't been believed by anyone... least of all artists... for at least 50 years... maybe 50 years more. It is the reason the classical nude is largely dead. No one buys the idea that the artist painting the nude is simply painting an ideal form... no different than if he or she were to paint an apple or a green pepper. The immediate question... then why not just paint an apple or a green pepper... why a nude?
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:40 PM
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Re: Nude Tabu

Building off what I'm saying I'd look in particular at Caravaggio's Amor Vincit Omnia (Triumph of Love). The painting certainly has far more of an intent than mere arousal.



The pose of the main figure is based upon Michelangelo's sculpture known as Victory or The Triumph of Florence:



Thus the painting begins with an audacious parody of the most respected figure in Italian art. Where Michelangelo's Victory represents the triumph of the noble hero (Florence) over the oppressors, Caravaggio presents us with a smirking boy/teen cupid standing legs splayed over all the achievements of the human mind: the crowns of kings, the armor of the warrior, the instruments of music, the laurel wreath of the poets, etc... Love conquers all... and a rather randy love at that. Essentially Caravaggio is suggesting the very same thing as I have been.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:36 PM
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Re: Nude Tabu

As I am sure you are aware we could argue the role of nudity and eroticism in art indefinitely - so it is hardly an open and shut case, then again if we stopped, that would mean alot less Phd.'s and masters degrees. Also we would stop learning new things...like for me not to use Renoir as an example!

Still you have not convinced me that nudity has to be associated with erotic. I honestly can see nothing erotic in some of the works you have posted, as a man I just see a statue of a naked guy, if other men find something erotic there, well as Seinfeld would say "...not that there is anything wrong with that...".

Which brings up a fundamental problem, some people would find that 500 year old bunny erotic, some might find rubber suits erotic and well obviously society is having problems with the far end of the spectrum who would find the images of cupid erotic and other nasty things.

Still I find it hard to see much erotic in a lot of the above, with the exception of the explicit art. I would also argue that your own example of the woman bathing, the erotic intent there has nothing to do with the womans nudity - it is the explicit voyeurism that makes it erotic. If the image was cropped so he was not watching it would be completely different.

As to why the classical nude is dead, well I would say your sort of answering your own questions there. As you rightly point out hardly anyone studies the classics anymore. So expecting someone to come up with the death of Patroclus or similar now would probably be expecting too much. If I was good enough to paint such a scene I would probably use nudity also, as that is what I have been conditioned to think of with such a classical scene. Being as far as I know straight, even if I was able to paint Achilies I would paint him as perfect as I could, and somehow to my mind he just wouldnt look right fully clothed. Aphrodite arising from the sea foam would look strange in a full bathing costume. (Although the idea is used never endingly by photographers.)

I would also go much further and say that studying a lot of art up till probably the early 20th century without at least a minimum of classical literature, and preferably a lot more, is dangerous, which brings up Caravaggio's cupid - which is still very much debated over homoeroticism.

To give an example of what I mean of the problem, Omnia vincit amor et nos cedamus amori from Virgil has been a major theme of western art for almost 2000 years. In the popular modern context it is generally seen in terms of "love will overcome all". In the classical context, which most up until recently having studied Virgil would have known it meant something completely different. That is, that you can't fight love or you can't win. And in general love was not seen as a good thing. Going right back to the Iliad and probably further. Lots of modern cultures still see love as a bad thing. A bringer of pain and problems...

So in a modern (western) interpretation of cupid plunging the arrow in above, the woman could be seen to be sighing - erotically. A classical interpretation though would be that she is gasping. Much like I am sure many parents of teenagers might if hearing their son or daughter is in love. So we have to be careful in adding our own contemporary values to things. Much like the Caravaggio, where lots have argued that the sight of nude children was no big deal at the time.

We could also argue about recent changes, as a parent, I am very much aware of the issues and almost paranoia regarding children. Now in public places nudity of children is seen as a concern...in my own mind I am thinking about what nutters might be out there looking. But at the same time I can remember going to the beach as a boy and nobody even seemed to think twice about seeing kids getting changed or paddling naked. So even within short periods our views on nudity can change dramatically.

I do have to admit though that Caravaggio's cupid has always bothered me on one level. And that is to me at least the way he seems to have mixed the boyish with adult physique. Still I am hardly even close to expert there, so I really don't know what the deal is.

To finish up, last night I discussed the issue with my mother, a retired art historian when she called. (Which I am not even close, just I was surrounded by it all growing up). Anyway when discussing it she asked...so why were the men clothed in Manet's Le Dテゥjeuner sur l'herbe - Luncheon in the grass - but the women are naked...

So it is not an easy topic at all. Plus it's kind of annoying when you think you are being clever, and your mother can still throw ones like that at me. Although she did at least agree with me on the marbles. So I wasn't left feeling completely dumb.

Still it has been interesting to debate and I have learnt a few new things! You havent completely convinced me though

Scott.
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Old 04-08-2010, 12:25 AM
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stlukesguild stlukesguild is online now
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Re: Nude Tabu

Certainly, not all representations of the nude inspire an erotic response. There are some truly horrific images of hell and torture in which the erotic seems far from the artist's mind. Of course, speaking of the artist's mind, one might suggest that few artists were theologians, philosophers, or classical scholars and so I suspect that they were far more interested in the chance to paint a beautiful naked body than you suggest. The urge to mask or deny the erotic content of paintings of the nude or literary narratives of erotic escapades strikes me as a prudish denial not far removed from the pathetic attempts of the church to rationalize the Song of Solomon as a symbolic expression of the church and the Lord. The notion that the history of the nude in art history is largely the history of some sterile abstract ideal form pushes credibility beyond what would seem to be the obvious.

In the case of Caravaggio's Amor Vincit Omnia I highly doubt the artist's intent was purely an extension of some classical ideal gleaned from Virgil... especially considering the artist's history in pandering homoerotic images of under-aged "pretty boys" to high-ranking clergy members whose affections ran in that direction. Cupid is a smirking "pretty boy" common in Mannerist art... from which Caravaggio was breaking away.

The issue of the nude as a subject alluding to historical classical themes... or an abstract ideal form without any suggestion of the erotic does have its supporters today... but mostly among the reactionary brand of realists of the sort one might come across on the ARC website. Of course there is also Philip Pearlstein who has for years insisted that there was no emotional (hence erotic) intention or content to his nude paintings:



Pearlstein's paintings are certainly reserved... cold almost... but one still questions why the predominance of female models... and why the nude at all if formal spatial relationships are the only concern? It is that notion that try as we might we cannot fully divorce ourselves from an emotional response to the human figure... especially considering the erotic connotations... that Sir Kenneth Clark was arguing in his landmark text, The Nude. I largely concur.

As for Le Dテゥjeuner sur l'herbe... the reason for the nudity of the women seems obvious enough. Manet is offering up a comment upon the subject of the nude and how the audience accepted something like two naked women accompanying two clothed male counterparts in a bucolic park setting when it is dressed up in the proper accouterments... or when it is seen in the light of history. No one would have thought to have questioned the subject of this painting:



Which is essentially the same subject matter as Manet's painting:



And Manet even employs a composition borrowed from a Renaissance print (designed by Raphael) in order to make the lineage plain as day:



But the audience is shocked: two naked contemporary women accompanying two clothed men in a park in contemporary Paris?! Outrageous!!! But does that not suggest that Manet recognized that the Titian/Giorgione painting was just as outrageous?
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:59 AM
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Re: Nude Tabu

This is a very esoteric discussion. Here is my 2 cents:

I met an artist who has made a living selling his art for decades. It came up in the conversation that he does not paint a lot of figures, though he likes figures, because they don't sell well. The men want to buy them and their wives veto it. If they did buy it, where are they going to hang it? It doesn't really go in the living room, and it does not really go in the bedroom either. How about the kitchen?

My mom bought a small sculpture of a nude woman just sitting there, naked. It was not pornographic. It was a wedding gift to my stepfather and she bought it because it LOOKED like her (same hairdo, face, basic figure, etc.) And there it sat on the coffee table for everyone to see: my "mom", naked. Artistically it was fine, but I didn't like it in the house for everyone to sit around and have coffee.
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