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. 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.
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 and 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.
In 1485, Botticelli 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 172.5 by 278.5 centimetres, and is a representation of Venus who gracefully reveals her body.
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.
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.
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 1866. 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.
In his painting The Temptation of Saint Anthony, Cézanne portrays a dark expression through women with greenish, sickly skin. 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.
At the time, Cézanne could not convince himself to invite real women to pose nude for him. Some critics believe that through this painting, Cézanne wanted to represent his fear of women, as a kind of harassment of these female bodies that make him so uncomfortable.
The German Expressionist movement also featured many nudes. The friend of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele was a major Expressionist painter, the most scandalous of the early 20th century. His work is marked by an intense sexuality, colliding with the classicism and bourgeois conventions of the time. His very singular style is recognizable by the twisted shapes of the body and the expressive lines.
A direct witness to the great horrors of the 20th century, Otto Dix never stopped criticizing the violence and absurdity of his time through his painting. He was fascinated by ugliness, bad taste, the macabre and grotesque situations. The artist paints tortured women, war widows and prostitutes.
After the Second World War, artists reappropriated the nude in a very individualized way. Tom Wesselmann, an American artist and major figure of the Pop Art movement, created female nudes using images cut out from magazines and found objects. Provocative and depersonalized, his works have become true erotic icons, emblematic of the 1960s. Wesselmann wanted his nudes to provoke strong reactions. He once said the nude, I think, is a good way to be aggressive, figuratively speaking. I want to elicit intense and explosive reactions from viewers.
Bruce Hensel, MD, who once served as NBC's chief on-air medical correspondent in Los Angeles, pleaded no contest to soliciting nude pictures from a 9-year-old. He was ordered to register as a sex offender and sentenced to 2 years of probation. In court, the physician apologized to the 9-year-old victim's family and hugged her father, calling it an "isolated thing." (Los Angeles Times)
Five women sued the state of Texas, alleging that they were denied abortions despite serious risks to their lives or their fetuses. The suit reportedly marks the first time that pregnant women themselves have taken legal action against abortion bans implemented across the country after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. While initially welcoming their pregnancies, the women reportedly faced risks of hemorrhage or life-threatening infection from carrying fetuses they were told would have no chance of survival but could not be aborted. (New York Times)
Freundel is currently charged with six counts of voyeurism for videotaping six women. But prosecutors told a closed-door meeting of victims last week that Freundel had taped more than 150 women, though the statute of limitations bars them from charging him with many of the tapings. Several people who were inside spoke to The Associated Press.
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The pioneer of soft-core porn announced that it is no longer going to publish images of naked women, beginning in March. Before we all celebrate this as a feminist victory, we need to ask why Playboy has now decided to rebrand itself as a lifestyle magazine for young men, much like Vice and FHM, or, put another way, Cosmopolitan for men.
First with the right wing, which wanted to shutter the magazine because of its supposed moral bankruptcy and threat to the heterosexual family. Also opposed to Playboy were feminists, who saw the images as sexist and degrading, and organized numerous protests against the magazine. However, the biggest challenge of all was the need to attract advertising dollars from big name companies that, in the conservative 1950s, were squeamish about placing ads for their products next to what was then considered scandalous pictures of semi-nude women. How quaint.
Playboy spent much of its early years crafting a magazine that taught upwardly mobile white men what clothes to wear, what furniture to buy for the office, what food to cook and, most importantly, how this consumption would attract the real prize: lots of women, just like the ones in the centerfolds.
And that's why Playboy's "girl next door" had to go, because it couldn't compete with the growing misogyny and explicitness of modern mainstream porn, in which a so-called "bitch" or "slut" supposedly prefers being gagged with a penis to gazing at the camera provocatively as she picks flowers in the nude.
The new denuded Playboy is still aiming for the higher-end male, according to Scott Flanders, Playboy's chief executive, who describes how his target audience differs from other men's lifestyle magazines by being "the guy with a job."
Gail Dines, professor of sociology and women's studies, Wheelock College, and David L Levy, professor of management, director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness, University of Massachusetts Boston. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
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Officers were responding to a \"suspicious persons\" call at an I-75 rest area in Pasco County, Florida, at around 11 a.m. Wednesday when they saw the women \"standing in the nude putting on suntan lotion,\" according to dispatch audio. 781b155fdc