Nudity in the world of art has evolved dramatically throughout history. This lead to an incredible array of artwork exploring themes related to the body and socio-cultural identity. During the 5th Century B.C., nude art became popular in Ancient Greece. A new language of naturalism and realism, as well as a pursuit of anatomical knowledge, led to an immense focus on the body. This constant focus on the human form puzzled me because I too am partaking in the practice but I have no clue as to why. Why are we so interested in depicting it in art?
While binging on art history documentaries searching for answers, one of the commonalities I picked up on was the constant presence nudity even in religious depictions in famous paintings and sculptures. And that’s with Christianity itself acting as the early day “cancel culture”. So then, I got lost into a tangent asking when did nudity in art become such a problem if we are are so interested in the human form?
Massive fast forward to today, the nude is still somehow offensive yet just as equally glorified, which I find so hypocritical. Some of the (old but continuing) complaints about nudity is that it undoubtedly leads the mind to sexual thoughts, or that “the female nudes are an affront to the power of women because it makes them objects of male lust rather than complete human beings”. The only answer I got to this is the difference in the use of nudity between the art of the past and that today in that it lies within the intent.
I still don’t have a clear answer as to why, like my predecessors, I’m so interested in what I now call “a study”, but my guess would be it’s because I’m human and I am naturally interested in what looks and feels human