Representing the human body has been one of the major themes throughout art history since prehistoric times. In fact, among the paintings that have marked history, many are nude paintings of bodies, more specifically naked woman.
The body is a fantastic source of inspiration for an artist because it is simultaneously the embodiment of beauty, desire, reverie and the forbidden. And it is often the nude paintings that cause scandal in art. Over the centuries and across movements, nude paintings have created an aesthetic of the body and beauty.
Beyond the subject represented, the painters create imagery of the human body, often very personal and sometimes even against the artistic rules of their time.
Let Artsper take you on the journey of a brief history of the women nude painting through art…. In the Middle Ages, the Church used the nude to show the vulnerability of man, aware of the importance of the image in teaching religion to the illiterate. The Church commissioned artists to paint frescoes, sculptures and paintings to decorate their churches and religious manuscripts.
Female nude drawings
Contemporarily, art was mainly for religious purposes, with the nude being considered sinful. It referred to the mortal and imperfect condition of man. Nude paintings were thus represented for iconographic reasons. For instance, naked characters are found on the tympanums of churches alluding to the Underworld.
The biblical figures Adam and Eve are synonymous with nudity and sin. They are often represented in their simplest form, with snakes or leaves covering their genitals. These naked bodies, although visually very close to profane nudes, are in fact in service of the sacred. While Adam lowers his eyes and hides his face, Eve hides her nakedness, her eyes spinning and her mouth open as if she were screaming. Above them, we see an angel dressed in red who points to the exit.
The two characters are bent over, ashamed and afraid to leave Eden. Opposite this image in the same chapel is the fresco of the painter Masolino. Known as The Original Sinthe fresco was created in Naked drawn girls and Eve look at each other with an air of serenity, standing tall and majestic.
A light emanates from the figures, the dark background highlighting the bodies and their ancient stature. It is interesting to compare these two frescoes. The difference in the representation of the nude, idealized for one and realistic for the other, highlights the condition of man before and after committing the first sin.
From the Renaissance era onwards, nude paintings began to lose their iconographic character and became valued solely for their aesthetic and sensual qualities. During this period, the rediscovery of Antiquity Naked drawn girls an interest in plastic beauty led artists to value the nude itself, which became a key source of inspiration. Artists painted the human body using live models while respecting proportions. They took up the ideal body invented by the Greeks, yet added a more realistic male musculature.
InBotticelli became the first artist to paint a female nude without a religious reason. Nothing like it had been seen before in Europe! It is an almost life-size female nude, measuring One of her hands hides a breast, but the other remains visible.
Her modesty is barely concealed by these two gestures, which only partially hide her feminine curves. It is a game between what she hides and what she exposes, with this idea introducing an erotic dimension to the painting.
This serves to emphasize her hips and her slender figure. She has a pensive look.
It is difficult to know what she is thinking about, perhaps she is awakening from a dream? Behind her, the sea is calm with only a few ripples, no storm appears on the horizon and the breeze is gentle. Botticelli was at the height of his career when he painted this picture, at the request of rich patrons, breaking with convention. His Venus is the graceful, elegant nude, far from any sacred and religious claims, far removed from the tradition of the Middle Ages.
It is during the Mannerist period of the 16th and 17th centuries that nude paintings truly became freed from all constraints or religious considerations. Mannerism offered huge freedom in the representation of the body.
Between the form exaggeration and bodily distortion, a strong sense of eroticism emerged.
Here is a painting that religious morality would doubtlessly disapprove of! Underneath this charming spectacle is an incestuous scene, a kiss between Venus, the goddess of beauty, and her son Cupid, the incarnation of love.
Jenny saville’s nudes bring renaissance masters down to earth
Provocative, unseemly, disturbing… There was no shortage of words to describe this scene that goes against all morality. Against the current of the Renaissance, this movement rejects both the ancient canons and classical thinking, in order to glorify arabesques and artificiality. The Rococo style was also a source of inspiration for nude artists. Indeed, the Rococo painters celebrated the beauty of the body better than anyone through their bold nude paintings. Yet he is considered the painter of frivolity and Rococo.
The painting presents a daring subject, even if the closed eyes and the half-turned body evoke a certain modesty.
Here, the nude is sublimated by the white, gray and pink colors that highlight the young skin of this woman. Moving away from mythological and historical subjects, Fragonard revolutionized the genre in creating these intimate and Naked drawn girls nude paintings. The Romantic era came with a desire to portray reality, although without hesitating to dramatize it. This period marks the arrival of exoticism and the fantasy of harems. Nude paintings then became liberated and even began to Naked drawn girls sexuality. Romanticism broke ties completely with classicism and neoclassicism by rejecting formal conventions.
It was no longer the forms and subjects that are highlighted, but rather the intensity of colors, contrasts and light. InFrancisco de Goya showed, likely for the first time, the pubic hair of a real woman and not of a goddess or nymph in his painting La maja desnuda. The artist created the nude without any other justification than the pleasure of revealing herself.
The naked woman has a confident look and stares directly at the viewer without shame or shyness. It was nevertheless discovered and shocked society at the time! Realist painters often focused on nudes taken from their daily lives. Their models were from the so-called lower social classes: prostitutes, actresses or lovers.
Of course, we cannot forget the painting The Origin of the World by Gustave Courbet, which caused a scandal with the public and at the Salons in Without censorship, it represents the female vagina. Courbet rejected academic painting and its idyllic, idealized versions of the nude. His painting always challenged the limits of the presentable. Impressionist painters are credited with revisiting the nude. By removing the edges and contours of the body, they focus on color and brush strokes to give an energy and vitality to the bodies. It is within Impressionist painting that nudes caused the most scandal.
Many artists painted ordinary women, usually in their simplest form. Impressionist artists represent the nude in a variety of ways.
The Modern painter wanted to represent the reality of his time: Olympia is a prostitute, and not a mythological goddess or a nymph. He painted this reality without trying to idealize it. However, in the midth century, depicting a nude was only permissible if situated in an exotic or mythological space. Here, the nude woman is strongly individualized and provocative. She stares at the viewer: it is this direct gaze and expression of indifference that causes a scandal. Ultimately, they do not show themselves voluntarily naked. However, Olympia contradicts this idea.
The nude is his favorite subject because it is the genre in which he innovates the most: these nudes reflect the variety of techniques that Naked drawn girls seizes. He employed drawing and painting, but above all pastel, which he appreciated for its speed of execution and the possibility of copying the painting without the pastel drying.
Between his temptresses of Saint Anthony and his bathers, the artist poses a tormented vision of women.
One model, 10 nudes: see how different artists treated the female form at will cotton’s drawing party
The figure of St. Anthony, who is usually in the center, is relegated to the left of the painting, barely visible. Our gaze is inevitably drawn to these three women with robust bodies, large bellies and breasts. To the left, the fourth figure, less illuminated, dances in front of Saint Anthony.
This painting gives a pessimistic impression through the use of light contrasts, dark colors brown, gray, yellowish and dark green and grotesque figures: note the masculine features of the woman on the right. These provocative figures later gave way to the figures of the bathers. He seeked to deconstruct the subjects by removing all narrative and descriptive elements, then to reconstruct them by simplifying their forms to the extreme.
Moreover, shapes and colors are blended on the surface of the canvas, creating a fusion between the women and the landscape. One thing for certain is that these nudes are rather revolutionary, paving the way to abstraction.