For thousands of years humans have sought to depict that which is most personal to them and any other human – the body. Whether it be lithe and supple or curvaceous and full.
Greek and Roman statues almost always showed their figures naked – stripped back, bare but nonetheless celebratory of the human form – a symbolic show of the strength of a country, its empire and it’s people.
During the renaissance period, nudity was restricted somewhat to religious painting – often symbolising depravity and debauchery – as was often the case for depictions of Adam and Eve – a clear message to anyone that
In the Baroque era, nudes became far more opulent – as did everything else. It can be argued that this is when the body became a true art within itself, having had a controlled presence within art previously to this. The Baroque nudes started to celebrate physicality in a somewhat similar way to that of the Greeks.
Good luck to anyone that wanted to paint or draw nudes in the 18th and 19th centuries – an era of prudishness amongst the upper classes severely stifled the fashion for such visceral and bare – faced paintings at a time when some people couldn’t even look at an ankle. So once more, nudity in art when under wraps for the time being.
By the end of the 19th century however a new artistic movement was gathering speed – the Impressionists.
With a focus on the use of light, the senses and painting and drawing from life nudes became one of the favoured subjects of this movement. The nude came of age and was the focus of some of this styles greatest works – see Les Grandes Baigneurs below.
In the mid 20th century, the work of Yves Klein and his series of canvases that used the female, though sometimes male, figure as a way of applying paint to the canvas in his characteristic blue paint that he himself invented.
Within more modern times, the installations of Spencer Tunick have used large groups of naked people assembled in densely populated areas, such as cities, in order to make a comment on our current perception and view of the human body.
Who knows what art relating to the human body will be created in the future…
Please like and comment, thank you!!