Nude

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Nude

Nude is an artistic genre which consists in representing a human body in a state of nudity or almost nudity. The representation of the naked body is frequent in European art from Prehistory, human representations generally appear naked and bodies are reduced to symbolic forms to highlight signs of sexual difference. Equally in Antiquity, where naked human representations are extremely stylized as we can see it with the feminine figurines of the Cyclades. At the Renaissance, artists are going to be inspired by Antiquity art in particular with statuary, and the naked body will be reserved to mythological or religious subjects. At that time, the naked body cannot appear as full subject. It expresses a humanist ethic and a new esthetic. Léonardo da Vinci, for example, shall strictly study the human body as if it was a still a question to comprehend its mysterious functions. For the royal Academy of painting and sculpture, nudities were justified only in the religious or mythology paintings or in allegories constituting the reserved domain of the historical painting. But in the XIX°s, these conventions are questioned. Considering the difficulty to represent anatomy and complexion, Nude enables the artist to demonstrate its talent. So that a nude does not shock the public at that time and be accepted in the official circuit of the Salons, the painter desexualizes it by giving it idealized outlines of an antique sculpture and the recognizable identity of a biblical or mythological character. In sculpture, one make a big use of subjects and antique poses. Then at the beginning of the XX°s, artists question the figurative art with cubism, then with abstract art.

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