I don't think nakedness is necessarily related to titillation, which I am interpreting from your description of 'erotic beauty getting in the way.' Surely you have seen people who have their various bits covered up, but, as titillation is the point, titillation occurs. There are also nudes which are generally regarded as beautiful and not erotic to most, which was likely the intent of the artist - to celebrate the beauty of the body in a nonsexual way. To some however, as you have stated, there is no such thing as a nude which is not erotic. This attitude is at least partly societal, as Allen Friday's post regarding the sensitivity differences between Americans and Europeans illustrates, and partly internal, that is, how we each are internally affected by a work regardless of the 'norms' of society.
well - SO many have - and somewhere - i think in the hidden basement of the library of Paris - there are drawers FULL of penis'es, labeled and all - taken from the statues and replaced by fig leaves.... Seen it on TV - the guy showing it to us told it was his biggest dream to make an exhibition, just with these remains......
Originally Posted by SuzanneR
Also, the perception of certain body parts being out of proportion is only when we look at the statue at eye level. If you view it as it was intended, up on a pedestal so that you're looking UP at it, the hands and the head appear proportionate because they're compensating for perspective. IF my art history serves me correctly, there was a time when a plaster fig leaf was applied to David, at least for a visit by Queen Victoria. But the whole thing is rather ridiculous to be worrying about covering up body parts out of prudishness rather than climate-dictated need.
I think it's a vain effort to try and separate the erotic from the artistic - and there's not a damned thing wrong with having your cake and eating it too when it comes to this. I think part of the impact of a statue like the David or the Pieta is the stark, confrontational physicality and humanity of the figure being nude. David was to inspire the Florentine republic as an heroic figure who was also human. How more human can you get than when naked? And certainly the erotic charge of this virile young man, a conqueror and giant-slayer without arms or armor, would inspire anyone. The nudity of the Pieta reminds us of the ultimate humanity of Jesus - none more corporeal and human than the naked body. Seeing the form of vigorous youth laid low doubles the tragedy - someone who you can picture in a sexual way now dead magnifies the sense of tragedy. I'm certain this was a thought in Michelangelo's mind as he was creating the statue - he was a master of the psychology of art as well as its practice. If he had Jesus in a funeral shroud, we'd look at it and say, "oh, how sad for the mother. Didn't he do a beautiful job rendering fabric in marble?" instead, we look at it and immediately feel a profound tragedy. Were Jesus draped, it would be just another statue at the Vatican to be noted as stop number 23 on the tour.
from Kenneth Clark "The Nude". I suspect the same should be true for the creator of the image.
...no nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling, even though it be only the faintest shadow - and if it does not do so, it is bad art and false morals
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
That's just, like, my opinion, man...
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Very well said.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
Nudes are fine. All you puritans and prudes... lighten up! I agree 100% with JBrunner that only minds are dirty.
As for David, anatomically (especially his back) there are quite a few anomalies — artistic licence combined with exaggeration of anatomical form.
Sadly for David, he was looking considerably worse for wear after a 2-year loan to the Guggenheim. They won't be doing that again. Take your pick which is the most beautiful nude.
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
I 'came of age' rather late, after the rather uninspiring beginning in the suburbs of Los Angeles and when I moved off to university in far northwestern California. I spent a lot of time in the Falls and Summers at the local "Free" beach. After a couple times, nude bodies were no longer a big deal...we were just young people at the beach, playing volleyball, frisbee, swimming if we dared (the ocean only warms up to the low 50's). The nudity was relaxing...not tittalizing (is that really a word, LOL!). It seems the America as a whole gets off on Puritanism. As if we can't enjoy sexuality unless it is the forbidden fruit.
Originally Posted by JBrunner
My own mind -- I tend to think "nice body" ( I am no monk), then get past that and look a little deeper, if there is anything there that might be worth the time and exploration.
One of my boys (almost 16) has recently gotten into Japanese anime -- it is fun to watch some of it with him. One series I joke a lot about with him because it is so obviously a form of animated soft porn -- almost kiddie porn. Blows my mind at times. It is by no mean subtle!
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.
NUDES: aesthetic?, erotic?, literal? ... or singularly apathetic?
I think... Hmm...
I think the nude form is the hardest to capture, every nude shoot I do is a challenge, the moment I begin to feel "aroused" or attracted to the model, I end the shoot because I know after that point my artistic mind is gone and only my sex craved mind is there and it's impossible to make something beautiful and artistic.
I also found it odd that though there are many statues of various size and shaped women with big breasts or flat ones, big butts and no butts, the men tend to all have the same "average" or small size members, and none are Increadibly large as to make a normal man seem to feel inadequate. At least when it comes to realistic sculptures. In other cultures with sculptures I've seen all sizes but they aren't the "realistic" form. So I find that an interesting commentary . Though I am not worldly so please correct me if I'm wrong.
Hmm what else.. I think that being connected to your own sexuality and being able to incorporate that somehow into your view of nude art can be both powerful as distracting at the same time. It's really the most difficult of all art creation IMHO.
I don't think that art should be censored so I'm of the mind that the artist should dictate what is seen and exposed and what is "left to the imagination" and the kind of dismemberment /disfigurement and destruction of sculpture like replacing penis' with fig leaves is a disgrace to the human race and they should feel ashamed of themselves for destroying something they feared out of ignorance.
It also makes me sad that I can never view it as intended. Just as I'm not sure we know EXACTLY the height of the pedestal that David stood on originally (we may I don't know) but its that kind of thing that just saddens me because it cheapens the experience and leaves me feeling ... Sad for the world. I hope someday we can overcome.
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