Nude art is prevalent across the globe in different cultures although the reason it is created and its meaning might culturally vary. The most common reason why it exists is perhaps that it’s a representation of life.
Art mirrors life just as the wise Aristotle noted.
Origin of nude art
It was the ancient Greek artists in particular who loved creating the nude form of art. They idolized the nude, and those that deemed it obscene were considered uncultured and barbaric.
Post-Christianity there was a lot of cleaning up. Nakedness and Christian values didn’t vibe along too well.
During the renaissance, a notable period in European history, art was used as a vehicle to convey ideas and challenge existing norms. This period saw the contributions of many great artists, which lead to massive advances in art.
Evidently, inspiration was drawn from the ancient greeks because naked figures were reflected in several works of art.
The Nude was thus restored.
The famous Italian artist Michaelangelo, created many sculptures and paintings including religious artworks for the church. He was also greatly influenced by the ancient Greeks. Many marveled at his masterpiece but others frowned upon his nude art and considered it filthy.
Today, as progressive as we claim to be, the stigma around the nude form of art still exists.
Why do artists create nude art?
There definitely exists a percentage of artists who despise nude art. However, the large population of artists is pretty comfortable with the nude.
In Andrew Loomis’s words-
“The nude human figure must serve as the basis of all figure study. It is impossible to draw the clothed or draped figure without a knowledge of the structure and form of the figure underneath. The artist who cannot put the figure together properly does not have one chance in thousand of success-either as a figure draftsman or as a painter”.
Studying the nude figure forms the groundwork for many different kinds of art. But this is hardly the reason why artists draw the nude.
Artists make art for different reasons. Each artist is unique so what motivates them to create would obviously differ. Artists create to express, experiment, explore, push boundaries, and have fun among many other reasons.
I personally like drawing the nude aka naked human figure, because it is an interesting subject. I really admire good draftsmanship. The pursuit of trying to learn and master the highly anatomically complex structure of the human body gets me in the flow.
The stigma around nude art
Throughout history, you will notice that the vast majority of the art was representative of the time they were created in.
For example, during the early middle ages in western Europe, where the church held enormous power most artworks produced depicted Christian values. Artworks in different forms were created to pay homage to God.
Clothed or unclothed, the human figure continues to be a subject of interest for many artists, and the stigma around nude art persists.
This is mainly because people have been conditioned into believing that nudity is bad, something to be disgusted by. Such perception stems from religious fundamental beliefs.
Art Vs Pornography- where does one draw the line?
Occasionally viewers categorize nude art as pornographic.
Nude art is not pornographic.
Pornography is created to sexually arouse a person. Nude art on the other hand is created to appreciate the human body, evoke emotions, and tell stories.
Artists may create safe art that is commercially viable but they also have the power to push boundaries of what is acceptable and point out what’s not. And they do. In Jordan Peterson’s, words “artists move us into the unknown”.
Originally published at https://yuranamchoom.com on December 26, 2020.