Research point-Depiction of the nude over the centuries

For this lesson, I am going to learn about reflecting on analysing how the depiction of the male and female nudes has changed over the centuries.

My tutor mentioned to me an article, John Bergers’ Ways of seeing’ on my 2nd feedback. So I just reviewed it before this research point lesson. For this essay, it is particularly useful in episode 2 which discusses the female nude. About twenty or thirty old masters depict a woman as herself rather than as a subject of male idealization or desire. There are some standpoints in this article:

  • The male image projects are always exterior and their promised power.
  • By contrast, the female projects are interior and been observed by herself and others.

So one might simplify this by saying: Men act and women appear.

The nude has been a principal ever-recurring theme in the art area since men started drawing women.  The first nudes in this tradition depicted Adam and Eve.

Image result for adam and eve greek mythology Date: 15/07/2017

There is a question for me. Which came to the world first? The story or some symbol? Greek mythology,  I am sure people were drawing pictures from very early times maybe when they started recording stories such as Greek mythology they started having pictures including nudes.

During Renaissance methods were adopted from ancient Greece.

Michelangelo (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564). He started by learing to become a   sculptor, painter, architect when he was quite young. He worked a lots of time for Medici family. his devotion and fanaticism about the nudity pushed the evolvement of ancient Roman style on art. Date: 15/07/2017

Ignudo fresco from 1509 on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Image result for Ignudo fresco from 1509 on the Sistine Chapel ceiling  Date: 15/07/2017

Yet during Renaissance, they were still some coyness about drawing the female nude. So the aritst used the name”Venus” for their composition. There were a few other images of this name.

Botticelli ( c. 1445 – May 17, 1510)

'The Birth of Venus' - Botticelli (1486) - Venus, the Goddess of Love, stands like a statue on a sea shell, while the goddess of the season waits with a flower print blanket. All the connotations of nature relate to the purity and beauty of this work. Date: 15/07/2017

Giorgione ( 1477/8–1510)

The Sleeping Venus - Giorgione

Date: 15/07/2017

During Baroque,  the solemn and noble characteristics of the baroque period, from the classical ancient artistic essence developed by the Renaissance, combined with the restraining effect of the concept of ritual.

Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) Daedalus and Icarus  Date: 15/07/2017

Diego Velázquez (June 6, 1599 – August 6, 1660) Rokeby Venus


Until the 17th centurury the artist more or less conveyed the theme related to faith or mythology just as the Baroque took more rich and varied things.

In the 18th century (Rococo) and the 19th century classical themes are still popular. Characters include Gods, knights and saints and nudity is still the object of choice for painters.

In the later 19th century there was a change torwards impressionism.

Edgar Degas(19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917)

After the Bath or, Reclining Nude, c.1885 by Edgar Degas Date: 15/07/2017

The female figures are becoming divorced from traditional style they are getting true life like the images are not perfectionism.

In the Twentieth centuries, there are many of genre: realism, modernism, abstract, Symbolism and fauvist etc.

Pablo Picasso(25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973)

Two Nudes

Image result for Pablo Picasso nude painting  Date: 15/07/2017

The 20th century has given us many defferent styles of drawing and painting making this area of art very vivid.

After learning so many steps of through history of different styles of showing nudes. I need to find my own style to work with.





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