Naked & Ugly. Previously Known As “Reclining Nudes”

Refreshingly brash, intelligent commentary, You don’t have to lose your mind, or turn it off,  to appreciate art.

 

Standing Ovation, Seated

Giorgione did a fine Venus in 1510 (believed to be the first prominent work of the reclining nudes kind), but it was painted not because he wanted the viewer to enjoy the controversial personality of the goddess. It was about her body. A nude woman has always been painted to appeal to men standing in front of the picture. Kings would boast of their lovers to their friends. Noble gentlemen would catch up by exhibiting their hunting trophies: girls they’d bedded and deer they’d killed. If you’ve visited medieval castles, did you notice that “reclining nudes” are often exhibited alongside the stuffed heads  of animals?

If the 15th century saw the rise of allegory as justification for painting nude women (of which we remember Botticelli’s Venus and Spring best of all), the 16th century witnessed a tidal wave of Venuses, Dianas, and Paris Judgements. I’ll skip the rest of the…

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