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Does One Size Really Fit All?

May 21st, 2019

What do Anna Nicole Smith, Marilyn Monroe and the Venus de Milo have in common? They all have that perfect hourglass body, and they were all icons of beauty.

Everywhere you look today in the media, you see images of skinny, starved-looking women that are considered sexy because you see the lines on the stomach and hip bones protruding behind their skin. There’s a perception out there that only a flat tummy looks good when in reality, the clothes on these emaciated bodies are what makes them look attractive by the way a blouse is unbuttoned down or hem of a skirt is up high.

The truth is, men, find curvy women more attractive. According to research, men get the same high from seeing a curvy woman. A ripped stomach and firm posterior is sexy, but so is a little pooch belly. That’s sexy too, it’s just a different kind of sexy and men are attracted to both kinds. But women think if they don’t have washboard abs, then they can’t possibly be a model and that’s just not the case. Have we grown so accustomed to seeing touched-up images of unattainable perfection that we can’t see the beauty in the average-shaped woman? When a real woman looks in the mirror, and the reflection looking back at her doesn’t resemble the images she’s accustom to seeing in magazines and in the movies, she equates that with, “I don’t look like her. Therefore I can’t be a model like her.”

This couldn’t be farther from the truth. What most of us don’t realize is that every image printed in a fashion magazine has been altered to look like perfection. And the model has been trained to move her body in front of the camera in such a way that it flatters her shape.

A lot of full-figured women don’t have the confidence to even consider modeling, when in fact, they’re missing out on a great experience. Some think if they aren’t the stereotypically lean women, then they couldn’t possibly be captured by the camera.

Women are beautiful in all sizes. Even if you have a heavier model, as long as she has some curves and is proportionate for the size of her frame, she sexy. Think of the quintessential pin-up girl, Marilyn Monroe. Did you know she actually wore a size 13 and she’s considered to be an iconic beauty? She knew how to wear her clothes and hold her body for the camera.

Both Marilyn and Anna Nicole prove that they didn’t need tiny measurements to be sexy. In fact, it was the high waist to hip ratio that made them famous. It’s more about the proportion of their sizes than the actual numbers that give them an hour-glass shape. As long as the waist is smaller in proportion to the upper and lower body, it doesn’t matter if a model is a size two or a size twelve, these are the curves that can drive a man crazy.

The key to achieving that voluptuous, curvy body is to look for that shape where the middle is proportionately smaller than the chest and hip. With a little guidance from behind the camera, you can transform her into the shapely goddess she’s hiding inside.

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Fauvism Art History And The Female Figurative Subject

May 20th, 2019

Fauvism art is an art form which has a modern conceptual focus which generally forsakes traditional forms of sculpture and painting. “Fauvism” is derived from the French word “fauve,” which means “wild beasts” and pinpoints movement, such as in individuals or machinery. Here we will primarily discuss the female form as it has been, and is, used in Fauvism art while breaking down the form’s history, popularity, artists, and other important points which will explain this particular art form better. Thereby providing a firmer understanding of it and the heartfelt purposes of those who created Fauvist works of art of the past.

The History of the Fauvism Art Genre
Fauvism 1898-1908 was derived and inspired from tribal art with a primitive flavor, and much of it was developed from Post-impressionist inspiration on the part of Fauvists themselves. The Fauvist movement itself did not last long, but the form played a major role in the onset of Expressionist art forms which developed later. One viewing a Fauvist piece will notice how an artist engages in an erratic, untamed use of color and style to achieve their works, thus explaining the “wild beast” reference. This particular use of color is considered ‘unnatural,’ and colors used are typically quite energetic, bold, and vigorous.

The most notable exhibition of only three held for Fauvism art was held in 1905 at the Salon d’ Automne in Paris, France. This exhibition was considered the greatest one held for the art form, which extended over only ten years. It managed to break significant ground for those artists who expressed themselves through the Modernist movement, sparking an entirely new art genre for all to see. To sum up the Fauvism movement in a nutshell, what the artists saw individually is what they painted or created, whether it be a real fact to the viewers naked eye or not. For example, if in the mind’s eye of the painter, one’s face contained numerous colors, each and every color would make it to the canvas. It was considered one of the truest forms of personal expression, and it paved the way for the incredible modern abstract artists of history, past and present.

Another important point which is tantamount to the history of Fauvism is the fact that Paris, France, played such a vital role, once again, in getting the ball rolling for this form. Because it is freely considered the “art center of the world.” This paved the road for Fauvism to grow and change as needed. All the most important art lovers were exposed, and therefore artists who would otherwise be trapped by traditional painting or sculpting genres could have the public’s okay to explore and express themselves in any manner they wanted. The go-ahead given in Paris was a go-ahead given by the entire world, and so Fauvist-based artist everywhere were able to spread their proverbial wings and put themselves on the line fully for the sake of their true vision.

With time Fauvism gave way to Cubism and Expressionism, but the original form itself had remained the only one true to itself, even in those early years when its blood flowed purely. Fauvism was, and indeed still is, one of the most rigorous forms in existence. It played a direct role on the way artists and viewers looked at, and used, color and tone. It changed the way shapes were used. It offered beautiful portraiture which still looked like the intended individual without compromising the obscurity of the form in any way. It was groundbreaking.

Fauvism proved to relate to the German people in unparalleled ways in the second decade of the 20th century with artists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. French Exhibitionists were overwhelmed by the form at the “Paris School,” resulting in the Rayonism and the Orphism Movement. Next came the overtaking of Scotland, when a group of four individual painters referred to as the Scottish Colorists began to contribute to the form before World War I. Included in this group were George Leslie Hunter, Samuel Peploe, John Duncan Fergusson, and Francis Campbell Cadell. All of these artists had passed away by 1961, but their individual contributions to the Fauvist form remain invaluable to this very day.

Matisse is considered the primary Fauvist pioneer, having contributed some of the finest works to the form. Matisse worked from the belief that freedom of personal expression was, indeed, art in itself, and thus could not be separated from the artist if the artist was true. He used specific systems and techniques which were coined as “Pointillism.” The artist without these beliefs could never be a true artist at all, and this is truly what Matisse believed. It drove him to perfect his form if that could really be accomplished at all when it comes to Fauvism. Others who worked from a strong belief system which was similar, if not identical, included Henri-Edmond Cross, Georges Seurat, and Paul Signac. These men, indeed, were the driving force behind the Fauvism solidification. While it is said that Matisse did not base his work or the techniques he used directly on the Pointillism theory. He did focus on the use of unusual ‘dot’ techniques which other artists forsook to bring an entirely new level of aesthetic and emotion to each and every work he contributed, and he did so successfully, remaining purely true to himself and his vision. Matisse also paid very close attention to several Post-Impressionists of his day, including Vuillard, Gauguin, and Bonnard. This resulted in the use of more and more strong, vibrant color, at a technique which boldly stepped away from the use of soft hues which was common to the Impressionism of his time. He would take paint straight from the tube, implementing no blending or shading, and he would use these colors to convey his point and vision. The effect is obvious; to this day, the name Matisse is common on the lips of even the non-art lover.

Today the basic aesthetic of Fauvism has changed, but it is not altogether uncommon to see a true work sell for literally millions of dollars. The contributions made by those who perfected the form in the past, as well as those who contribute in the present day, keep Fauvism alive, even by any other moniker. Because of the slow, subtle changes which the form has demonstrated, it can be difficult for the untrained eye to recognize true Fauvist art in any form. Many are tempted to simply stare at the works of Picasso and credit him with the genre, but nothing could be further from the truth. Fauvism came about in its own time, and it has been developed, even evolving, to the point of being unrecognizable to the layman. The fact remains that a true Fauvist work can be pinpointed by anyone with an understanding of its theory and history. To know the form is to recognize it, whether it is appreciated by the individual or not. Most, even those who do not love it, can appreciate its boldness and its ability to stand above and beyond other forms. It can be appreciated for the forms which it spawned, and eventually, it will be appreciated by all for its ability, in and of itself, to be utterly free in its purest form.

Fauvism: The Theory
As stated previously, Fauvism was a pioneering form of Expressionism, meaning that the artists, while painting or creating what they saw, did it by their own personal form of expression. This meant the use of a lot of colors, and the subjects bore mostly an unnatural look. In theory, this lent a hand to the artist is free to paint not only what they saw with their eyes, but what they ‘saw’ with their heart. Artistic freedom of this type was exclusive, breaking barriers for artist of the future to be who they were as artists rather than conforming to what the world’s view of an artist or painter should be. This is what the original heart of Fauvism is, and it is what Fauvism should remain, yesterday, today, and virtually until the end of time.

Not only did Fauvism lend a hand to the freestyle of the artist, but it also enabled the viewer to express themselves as well due to the art being, at times, harsh and loud. For those who were bored with, or could not relate to, traditional realism in art, this form was indeed quite popular. It crossed known boundaries and allowed for the personal expression of the owner of any piece, which was the purpose of Fauvist art, and remains the purpose of Expressionist art forms today. This is at the very core of Fauvism theory, even now, to the true artist.

The Popularity of Fauvism Art
Fauvism, or Pre-Expressionism, became popular in the art world for a variety of reasons. Not only did it open the door to artistic freedom, paving the way for some of the greatest Expressionists in history, it also broadened the minds of art lovers and enthusiasts the world over, allowing them to begin to see art as more than ‘black and white,’ so to speak. But there are other reasons why Fauvism was, and is, adored by those who consider art to be a vastly important part of their world and day to day life. For example, Fauvism is much easier for the art lover to integrate into any décor, as opposed to paintings and sculptures which are real in appearance, which tends to only compliment a specific aesthetic. Not to mention the fact that the boldness of color and technique used by Fauvists compliments individual personalities in ways that Traditionalism is incapable of doing. These facts, in and of themselves, have proven to be powerful catalysts about the popularity of Fauvism art and Expressionism being some of the most love art in the world, past and present.

Female Figurative Fauvism Artists and Their Works, Then and Now
Here we will discuss some known and influential Figurative Fauvist artists of the period, as well as some from more modern times whose works would not exist if not for the freedom of expression provided by the onset of the Fauvism period:

Ilya Mashkov 1881-1944
Born in the Cossack Village near Volgograd. This Russian artist known for his works in Fauvism, Nude 1915, Nude 1920, Two nudes 1908, Two nudes 1918, and Seated Nude 1918.

Albert Marquet 1875-1947
Born in Bordeaux, France, this French painter was a lifelong friend of Henri Matisse. Marquet was known for his Fauvist painting Life Class at the École des Beaux-Arts 1998.

Louis Valtat 1869-1952
Born in Dieppe, France. A French painter and printmaker known for his works in Fauvism, Young Women in the Garden 1898, and Young Girls Playing with a Lion Cub 1905-1906.

Henry Matisse 1869-1954
Born in Le Cateau-Cambresis, France Matisse was a true artist of many talents, working with painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, and even printmaking. He was known for works in Fauvism, Neo-Impressionism, Modernism, and Impressionism. Some of his pieces are The Blue Nude 1907, Woman with a Hat 1905, Standing Model 1900-1901, The Joy of Life 1905-1906, Nude in a Wood 1906.

Andre Derain 1880-1954
Born in Chatou France, this French sculptor and painter focused developments of Fauvism and Cubism, two avant-garde movements, and his Fauvism works include The Dancer 1910, Portrait of Matisse 1905, and Bathers 1907.

Pyotr Konchalovsky 1876-1956
Born in the village of Slavianka Russia, this Russian painter known for his works in Fauvism, Scheherazade 1917, Portrait of daughter 1912, Nude 1916, Girl under the umbrella 1929.

Maurice de Vlaminck 1876-1958
Born on Rue Pierre Lescot in Paris, this Fauvist painter from France gave several beautiful works to the genre, including The Girl at Rat Mort 1905, The Girl from Rat Mort 1905-1906.

Matthew Smith 1879-1959
This British painter is known for his works in Fauvism, Kneeling Nude 1915, Fitzroy Street Nude No. 2 1916, Nude, Fitzroy Street, No. 1 1916, Reclining Nude 1922.

Max Weber 1881-1961
Born in the Polish city of Białystok, then part of the Russian Empire. This Jewish-American painter and one of the first American Cubist painters who, in later life, turned to more figurative known for his works in Fauvism. Burlesque 1909, Three Nudes in a Forest 1910, and Summer.

John Duncan Fergusson 1874-1961
Born in Leith, Edinburgh, this Scottish artist, and sculptor, known for his works in Fauvism, Siesta 1951, and In the Sunlight 1907.

Emilio Grau Sala 1911-1975
Born in Barcelona, Spain this Catalan painter known for his works in Fauvism, Ballerinas 1955, Dancers 1963, La Lecture, and Champs Elysees.

Differences in Fauvism: Then and Now
While the basic message of Fauvism remains the same, the years have seen the form make several changes at the hands of the artists who have made the genre their own. In its humble beginnings, and in years gone by, many Fauvist works were considered extreme in their portrayal of women and other subjects, using bold colors, uncontrolled strokes, and independent thought processes to produce the popular works of art which resulted in the Expressionist trends we see in the art world today. However, it is important to point out that there are several changes in the form which have taken place over time.

The changes above can be obviously seen by even the untrained eye if one is to compare past works of the Fauvism form with the more modern versions created today. While many from the past were commonly abstract and extreme in appearance, many of the works we see today have taken a much more traditional tone. While coloration and tone remain bold in most cases, the form given to the subject, particularly human subjects, remains very consistent with reality. The color alone is what seems to cause these painting or other art types to stand out at “Fauvist” or “Fauvist type” works. Even self-portraiture created by these artists have seemed to lean in this general direction.

Present-day representatives of Fauvism have even taken still lives to this extreme, nearly stepping out of the abstract/Expressionism realm into something which is far more traditional than we might expect. While this has been widely accepted in this modern age, true lovers of Fauvism and other related forms notice the changes as starkly as one might notice the differences between black and white, which may be the clear explanation for the fading of the genre into other like forms.

The Importance of Genuine Fauvism to the World of Art
So, why bother? Why not just accept the ebb of the form as well as the flow? There are several reasons to consider if one is genuinely interested in the answer. Like any genre, Fauvism is as important to all art as oxygen is to all parts of the body; without it a specific part loses feeling, resulting in the severing of this particular form and all of its relatives. Without it, the world of art is restrictive and bland, it is the salt and seasoning of the world of art, as specific clothing is to individual style.

As any true Fauvist would likely relate, this particular form was freeing, not only to the artist but to any open-minded art lover or observer as well. No longer must trees and grass be green; the artist could openly lend new emotion and vision to the same using color, and even shape, variety. We all could look at the world through an entirely new scope and begin to see what could be, or even, what perhaps already was. As it is commonly said, beauty, or art, is in the eye of the beholder. To re-conform to the common is basically to turn our backs on this freedom. True Fauvism art in all of its glory is abstract and different. It generates new ideas which liberate. It is, therefore, necessary, not only to the artist but to the entire world, if we desire to accommodate the true tastes and pleasures of all those who call this world home. The point of living, breathing, and creating art today is to do just that, is it not?


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From Classical Art To Modern Art A Naked History

May 20th, 2019

One of the most prominent subjects in art is the nude human body. For thousands of years, nudity has been depicted in every medium of art, including sculpture, painting, dance, and more recently in photography and film. Yet while there has been a constant presence of nudity in art, it must be noted that changes in the norms of society also affect the way by which nudity is depicted as well as accepted. To trace the history of nudity throughout art history is a monumental task, and thus, this paper limits itself to a brief discussion of how specific movements in history treated nudity in art.

To begin with, long before the Classical era, nudity was already accepted and considered as part of the culture. For instance, primordial sculptures found in archaeological sites show the nude female figure such as the Venus of Willendorf (24th to 22nd century B.C.) and similar figurines. These nude figures are believed to be associated with fertility as the ability of females to give birth was equivalent to the Earth’s role as the source of sustenance. In Ancient Egypt, nudity was part of certain rites. Depictions found in Egyptian frescoes show naked women dancing as part of celebrations. The fact that nudity was portrayed in these frescoes attests to the nudity’s acceptability in both the visual and the performing arts.

Nudity in art reached a new level of refinement and exaltation in the Classical Era, particularly in Ancient Greece. In Greece, the nude male form was considered as aesthetically pleasing as well as representative of masculine virility and strength. It is in sporting events that this high regard for the male form is most expressed—competing athletes took part almost always in the nude. Athletics and athletes were believed to give tribute to gods such as Heracles and Apollo. Given this reverence, the nude male form was often depicted in art. Artifacts from classical Greece include vases painted with male athletes while sculptures attempted to capture the beauty of the naked male visage. Women, however, were rarely depicted on the nude except when the subject was mythological such as the case with Aphrodite, who was the goddess of love and beauty.

While Greeks may have extolled the male form through art, the Romans, on the other hand, were not too eager to depict nudity. The practice of portraying men on the nude was substituted with the depiction of the muscle cuirass, a type of body armor that mimics the ideal muscular male body. This allowed the masculine visage to be depicted without actually revealing it. Mythological scenes, however, depicted male nudity more regularly while women are limited to the exposure of the breasts. But despite this moderate treatment in art, nudity was rampant in excavated towns such as Pompeii and Herculaneum yielded vast amounts of frescoes, sculptures, and household items depicting sexual themes and acts.

Nudity, however, became rare during the Middle Ages. Upon the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church grew and eventually came to dominate society. The Church became the primary commissioner of an authority on works of art. Because religious subjects have no need for nudity, depictions of the bare male and female bodies were mostly comprised of portrayals of Adam and Eve. Even then, nudity was rendered to appear as if sinful and immoral. Therefore, it can be said that during this era, the exaltation of the beautiful bare body was supplanted with a form of nudity in the art that was intended to install virtue.

After its long decline during the Middle Ages, nudity became prominent in the art once again upon the emergence of the Renaissance. The Renaissance, it must be understood, was a movement that had its roots on the rediscovery of classical culture. The influence of the Church waned while the arts and sciences flourished. Although religious themes were still prominent in the arts during this time, classical themes rose to a higher degree of popularity. Because the themes were derived from ancient mythology, the execution was also patterned after it thereby bringing nudity to importance once again. The trend continued towards the Baroque Era, with renowned masters such as Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Bernini producing works of nudity reminiscent of the classical times.

By the 19th century, society’s treatment of nudity once again shifted. 19th century Europe, with its strict codes of morality and chastity, was in many ways similar to preceding eras; nudity in art was deemed only permissible if the subject was of classical or orientalist in nature. However, this was audaciously challenged by many artists by contemporary subjects on the nude. Examples to this include Edouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass 1863 and Olympia 1865 and Gustave Courbet’s Woman with a Parrot 1866. The result was outrage as a 19th-century society thought it scandalous to portray contemporaries in a state of nudity. Yet the desired effect was achieved. Society came to understand that nudity as an art is not confined to classical themes but may also apply to contemporaries.

The shift in the treatment of nudity in the 19th century paved the way for the liberalization of the nude form in art. Paintings and sculptures easily integrated nudity as seen in Rodin’s The Thinker 1889, Matisse’s The Dance 1910, and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon 1907. Film and photography, despite being fairly recent, were also not immune to nudity as both readily utilized the naked human body to capture a sense of aestheticism. Today, depicting nudity continues in my photographs of the female body that capture its multifaceted nature. My images can at once be innocent, sensual, elegant, and enticing.

Taking into account what has been discussed, it can be said that indeed, nudity has come a long way as a major theme in art. From its beginnings in the dawn of civilization, the portrayal of the human body has followed a path that includes both moments of prominence and decline. Extolled in Classical Era, nudity in art waned during the Middle Ages, only to rise once again in the Renaissance and the Baroque Periods, and finally liberalized in the Modern Era. Although fluctuating in the level of appreciation and permissibility on account of the changing norms of society, the constant presence of nudity in art reveals a single unifying truth: that the naked human body is delicate as it is beautiful.


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The Value Of Voluptuous Females

May 20th, 2019

The perception of the perfect female body image has changed throughout history almost as often as the latest fashions. The voluptuous female, so often depicted in Renaissance period art, has come and gone from popularity over the many centuries of man. However, some would argue that, despite popularity or lack of popularity during any particular period, the female figure portrayed in such paintings as The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli is the true, organic and nature-intended perfection of a woman. Woman in ancient art has often been shown as having heavy waists and thick arms and legs. They are rendered as being full-bodied and have a lot of curves to them. At times when the nature of society called for the thinning down of women to meet with the desires of the fashion world, art then began to reflect those trends as well. However, thinner women have never been captured on paper or canvas with the same affinity and affection that most often comes through in paintings, drawings, and sculptures of the more curvaceous woman.

The timeline of voluptuous women in art and culture is highly reflective of the societal timeline of mankind. The major themes of any particular period have a great impact on art and vice versa. As the times changed, and the physical needs of the people have changed, so has the ideal for a woman’s physique. Some would argue that the woman in a household is the example of the health and happiness of the family and, therefore, needs to look the part. Others would comment that women are held to such unrealistic standards of beauty, no matter what the period, that there will never be an attainable perfect body type, which does not require surgery of some kind.

In times past, being voluptuous indicated good health and wealth. The status of a woman is healthy and well fed was of great importance because women birthed and breastfed the children. Pale skin and body fat were thought to be aristocratic in ancient societies such as Greece and Rome. Centuries later, there came a time of female empowerment. “I am no bird;” said Charlotte Brontë, “and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” With the rise and fall of feminine power in society, so did we also see the rise and fall of hemlines and self-esteem. Taking a look at how the ideal for the female body image has changed over time, may help us to understand the changes in art and culture, which reflect that timeline.

In Ancient Egypt, circa 1292 - 1069 B.C., the ideal body shape for a woman was slim, with narrow shoulders and a high waistline. A few decades later, in ancient Greece, they preferred a woman to be full-figured and equivalent in sturdiness to their male counterparts. Then came a period, popularized during the Han Dynasty, during which people idealized the demure and small-framed waif-like figure of a woman. Later, during the Italian Renaissance period of 1400-1700 A.D., the norm shifted back to the voluptuous beauty of ancient times, which was more reminiscent of the ancient pagan earth goddesses. A couple of hundred years later, the waistline goes thinner, thanks to the diabolic development of the corset, while everything else on the woman was expected to still be full and voluminous. Within just a couple of decades, whether due to a mass rebellion of women against the wearing of corsets or, as history suggests, because of the trends in the fashion industry, the full-figured woman was nudged aside by the flirty flapper girl who was boyish in body all the way to her flat chest and knobby knees. Luckily, this trend only lasted a mere ten or fifteen years before the starving girls came to their senses and began to once again embrace their curvaceous nature. Simone de Beauvoir said, “To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.” According to some research, men are biologically programmed to seek out women with the body ratio equivalent to the “hourglass figure,” which is said to be the ideal shape for giving birth, which was most popular in the "Golden Age of Hollywood," the time of Marilyn Monroe.

When the rise of feminism came about in the late fifties and early sixties, the woman began to see themselves and their bodies in a different context. They no longer measured their appearance solely by a societal standard. They were now invariably influenced by the advertising that was specifically scripted toward them and the fashion industry that was invading their living rooms and vanities via magazines of all kinds. The popularization of mini-skirts and A-line fashions, which really only looked good on the tall, thin types, set a new standard for the female body image; one that was only attainable through reasonably unhealthy means and lifestyle. Unfortunately, the desire for a slender body, while enduring slight adjustments here and there, has endured for a lengthy period. While the 1980s brought with it an emphasis on health and fitness, it also came with a rise in diagnosed anorexia as women continue trying to fit in which led into a period during the ’90s when bony, stick-thin models began to take the spotlight.

These days, as women continue to fight for the equal rights that they were assured decades ago, they have begun to embrace a somewhat healthier overall ideal image. Naomi Wolfin once said, “A cultural fixation on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty but an obsession about female obedience.” Some would concur with her sentiments and also extend that the “obsession with female obedience” is often the catalyst for many sociological changes in human culture. The expectations of a woman’s body have changed more times during the last thousand years than it had over the millenniums that preceded this; the preference swinging back and forth like an every decade pendulum between the super thin and the modestly epicurean. In the 1910s, the curvy Gibson Girl was the fashion diva, followed directly by the loss of several pounds to the adolescent looking Flapper image. Curves gradually began to come back in style first with the elegant gowns of the 1930s, then with the sturdier look of war-era women during the ’40s. In the 1950s, the full organic figure of a woman is once again embraced by the masses as Hollywood stars like Natalie Wood take their places on the silver screen. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.

The new preference is still one of a slim waistline or flat stomach but with fuller breasts and buttocks. Tina Fey, in her book Bossypants, wrote. “Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.” However, there has also been a rise in women expressing a complete love of their bodies just as they are. Many are working very hard to clear away the perception that there is or needs to be an ideal body image for women and each woman has a natural and individual ideal shape that must be embraced and accepted. Many women, especially artist, are even going to great lengths to bring awareness to women’s bodies which have experienced the trauma of the world, either through illness, such as breast cancer, or trauma of some kind. William Scott Downey said, in Proverbs, “For one to admire a woman merely for her beauty, is to love the building for its exterior; but to love one for the greatness of her soul, is to appreciate the tenement for its intrinsic value.” This is something that our society is slowly coming to better understand.

Looking specifically at the societal and cultural trends that would affect the ideal body image, it is easy to understand how the popular preference for representing women in the art may change throughout time as well. The reflection of the culture in the art regarding the standards by which women’s bodies are presented is somewhat astounding. As cultural changes occur, it is often times difficult to distinguish whether art was then influenced by those changes or whether the changes are what influenced the art of the time. It’s a “chicken and the egg” story to which the answer is likely ‘both’; one hand washes another. As we comb through the addles of art history and line up each inception of nudity in art to its corresponded period in societal history, we find a direct link between the challenges, beliefs and popular institutions of the time and the portrayal of women’s bodies as well as the restrictions on their sexuality and personal freedoms. Each time conservatism rose, hemlines dropped. Every time there has been a revolution or campaign for rights of any kind, clothes also became less confining. These themes are well documented in the artwork of each particular period.

Some individual artists have always had a fundamental understanding of the value of a woman exists within her and is not directly derived from her appearance alone. Painter Gabrielle Buffet, who is responsible for the astounding piece Marie Laurencin, was quoted in 1903 in saying, “My ambition is that men should have a voluptuous feeling when they look at the portraits I paint of women. Love interests me more than painting. My pictures are the love stories I tell to myself and which I want to tell others.” Artists have always attempted to present their subjects, whether real or fictional, in the best light possible. Their work does not have the potential to be the brilliant and timeless piece that they envision without incorporating an organic honesty of the times and an intrinsic interpretation of the societal context surrounding its inception. Whether an artist is attempting to make a public statement, send a personal message or simply capture the quality of a moment, it is the responsibility of that artist to do so with empathy for the subject matter as well as respect for the medium and the audience. These three things must be in harmony throughout the piece to tell the story of the artist’s soul within the context of the artwork.

The voluptuous female, throughout time, has represented many things to many groups of people. The curvaceous female body image is one that has been revered as the pinnacle of feminine beauty most often since the dawn of time. Women who have pleasingly statuesque and full-figured bodies are considered in so many cultures to represent the wealth and success of that society. Ancient goddesses, especially those associated with the home, health, prosperity, and sexuality, are most often depicted as having a wide waistline and thick hips. A female figure was not considered womanly until it had filled out in the bust and britches. The most artistically admired statues of women are those who represent the female form healthily and well-fed. Looking at the artistic depictions of women throughout time, it is easy to believe that women are most admired when they are naturally fit and have a healthy bit of meat on their bones.

The effect that this fluctuation of the perceived ideal female body image has on a young woman is unfortunate and also profound. Each time the trend swings back toward favoring the severely skinny figure, there is an exponential rise in cases of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, in young woman especially between the ages of fourteen and twenty-two. When the preference moves to the other end of the spectrum, the cultural norm becomes one of over-eating and excessive exercise in an attempt to increase the measurement of one area of the body or another. As the perception of the female body in art, entertainment, and society at large, swiftly changes from one standard to another, it becomes increasingly difficult for women to feel assured about themselves and their bodies. It also becomes harder for parents, both mothers, and fathers, to instill the right ideals of self-image in their daughters or to teach their sons the value of the complementary gender of human beings.


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Artistic Nudity A National Treasure

May 20th, 2019

Nudity is not only a part of human nature; it has been a part of arts, culture, and worship for thousands of years. As far back as there is written and pictorial documentation of mankind, there has been nudity included. Many cultures, even to this day, treat nudity as a regular part of daily life while in other, more puritanical, parts of the world nudity is viewed as a form of indecency. There is and always will be an effusive debate over what, when it comes to human nakedness, is within the boundaries of art and what lends itself more toward pornography and eroticism.

In times of ancient man, nudity was non-discriminately present in everyday life. Men and women alike spent the majority of their days and nights in the nude, especially in warmer climates. Most anthropologists are of the mind that animal skins and plants were made into clothing only to protect from harsher weather. Still, some believe that the use of such coverings was first developed for decoration to demonstrate prestige or as a part of certain magical practices.

Ancient Egyptian art and hieroglyphs initially led anthropologists to believe that clothing wasn’t worn until puberty and, after that, men often wore clothing except on their chests or feet and women would usually dress in lightly draping, almost see-through fabrics. However, recently discovered tablets show not only Queen Nefertiti but also her husband, Pharaoh Akhen-Aton, as well as the Egyptian court practiced nudism, even in the royal gardens and palace. Queen Nefertiti worshipped the considered nudism and sunbathing to be beneficial for both spiritual reasons and for physical health. In ancient Greece, the naked male form was a symbol of the virility of the nation. The physique of a young male was something to be proudly shown off. However, in ancient Rome, the general attitude was that nudity in public was indecent, no matter how lascivious the behavior inside the home was.

In the Orient, there has always been a noticeable divide between the positions taken on nudity. In ancient Japan, nudity was so readily accepted that such traditions as communal nude bathing became the usual standard. Nude family and mixed bathing were also common as Japan has numerous hot springs. Conversely, the Chinese view nudity as something for the lower-class, the peasants. The upper class viewed nakedness as such a foul sin that the women of high society would not even disrobe for their doctors. Neither Japanese nor Chinese art from ancient times depicts nudity, not due to censorship of nudity in art though. The Japanese generally liked their clothing and considered the removal of it as an essential part of intimacy while the Chinese simply believed that nudity was a great perversion.

As in most things, art reflects the life and, at times, vice versa. As societal proclivities change, so do artistic perspectives. As nudity, which was once generally accepted in society, became more taboo, so did the openly naked portrayal of women and men in art. A well-known example of this is The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. Since its creation in 1485, the painting has been banned and unbanned and banned again all over the world. By some, it is considered one of the most iconic and beautiful pieces of art in history. Others consider it profane and sexualizing and indecent. At the time of its rendering, the popular definition of beauty in regards to a woman’s body was not the thin, unfed looking models we see in today’s fashion catalogs. Venus is a perfect example of the standard of a beautiful female body during the fifteenth century. The obvious adoration of the onlookers in the painting is often mistaken for sexual desire, one reason used to justify the censorship of the piece. Birth of Venus by William Adolphe Bouguereau has, over the years, suffered similar censorship for its portrayal of the goddess in the nude with admiring onlookers including unclothed cherubic angels.

The pressure of those who would see nudity suppressed in art is so great that some artists have even succumbed to making variations of their art to satisfy the masses. One famous example of this is Francisco de Goya’s painting La Maja Desnuda (The Nude Maja) from 1797 which he repainted in 1803 which was then called La Maja Vestida. Of course, the most famous case of cover-up censorship during the Renaissance period is that of the Last Judgment, a painting, by Michelangelo, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. While there were stirrings of discontent about the piece from the start, it wasn’t until after Michelangelo’s death in 1564 that the nudity was covered up with painted-in scraps of fabric. In 1565, Daniele da Volterra was the artist hired to alter the massive ceiling fresco.

The use of foliage, fabric, veils, and, notably, fig leaves to cover up nudity in the art of all kinds is somewhat amusing as we look back through history. These tactics for bringing modesty to the art pieces actually often times enhanced the sensationalism of a piece because it brought more attention to the area of the body which the censors were attempting to detract attention from. The reverse effect of covering breasts and genitalia became clearer as time went on. In the early to mid-twentieth century, restoration of many of these pieces included removing the cover-up additions of the 1800s.

Censorship of nudity in art has never been confined to paintings. Sculptures, such as Frederick MacMonnies’ bronze sculpture, Bacchante and Infant Faun, was set for installation in the courtyard of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square when the scandal took over, has been treated to the same type of suppression as paintings. A more modern example of the controversial sculpture is the work of Daniel Edwards entitled Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston which shows a bent over Brittany Spears naked, pregnant and essentially going into labor on a bearskin rug. Some may say that it is a depiction of how popular culture can so easily kill one talent while giving birth to another. Others, however, strongly feel that it is nothing more than a pornographic smear at a music industry icon.

The same type of thinking is often used to validate the censorship of nudity in literature, worship, social events or gatherings and even on private property. People, who feel threatened by nudity, typically see the naked form only in terms of sexual activity, with the little rationalization of the organic nature of the human body being nude. Those who practice nudism sometimes referred to as naturism, generally agree that there is little to no sexual arousal inspired simply by being in the company of other naked people. Most say that, after some time, once a certain level of comfort is reached, it is easy to forget about the nudity entirely.

The entertainment industry as well, from live theater to television, film, and internet, has had to endure various levels of censorship of nudity, often times not taking into consideration whether its inclusion was of an artistic or erotic nature. In 1990, performance artist Karen Finley had her NEA grant revoked because Rowland Evans and Robert Novack, two reporters who wrote a column together, having never even seen her art, chastised her for it. The grant was later refunded; however, the artist took the matter to the Supreme Court. Even more recently, in 2010, video artist Rose Bochovski’s computer-graphic, 3-D film Susa Bubble, which depicts a naked young girl with no sexual context, was removed from the Second Life art gallery
Nudity in art has become so widely accepted that once banned, censored and hidden works such as L'Origine du Monde (The Origin of the World) by Gustave Courbet, which was not allowed in galleries, or included in public showings, from its creation in 1866. Finally, it was featured in a show entitled Courbet Reconsidered at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, more than one hundred years later, in 1988. With this acceptance of nudity in art, it was inevitable that a loosening of the reigns in entertainment and media would soon follow. None of That, an animated short film by Group Suspific, was recently released which tells the story of a museum guard who is supposed to guard the artistic nudes from censorship. It is a talented rendering that, amusingly and entertainingly, looks at the problem of censorship and the potential dangers of it as well. There has even been a recent emergence of nudism on television through reality television shows like The Nak’d Truth, Dating Naked and The Naked Office, a reality show out of the United Kingdom.

Nudity has only been considered rare or taboo during certain periods when puritanical views and conservativism was being touted as the basis of the devout lifestyle. This perspective was sometimes pushed by religious groups and churches who considered baring the flesh in any way to be a sin. However, during the majority of human history, naturism of one form or another has been openly practiced. It wasn’t until 1868, when the first “swimming-costume,” or early bathing suit, was introduced, nude bathing was commonplace at beaches in Europe as well as many other parts of the world. Today, there are some European countries such as Denmark and Germany, where beaches are clothing optional. These beaches are also known as “free beaches.” However, even on these beaches, a large percentage of the patrons opt for, at least, partial clothing.

As a subculture, nudists are really no different than non-nudists except for the desire to sunbathe naked. Many early nudists supported nudism for its positive health attributes and believed that regular nudity was essential to physical as well as mental health. The nudist movement as health and therapy was directly in opposition to the American view of the naked body as something immoral or indecent. Therapist and behavioral psychologists supported naturism as beneficial in building self-confidence and learning to feel comfortable in one’s body. Nudism was also attractive to the bored and under-sexualized white, middle-class looking for release from the monotony of everyday life. Sunbathing in the nude was a popular trend among young Americans in the early to mid-twentieth century. A perk to sunbathing on a nude beach is the anonymity it offers in comparison to going to one of the clubs or resort which require registration, membership applications, and sometimes advanced reservations.

The movement for social nudity carries a wide variety of titles and subjects, including, but not limited to, "naturism," "nudism," "Freikörperkultur (FKK)" and the "free beach movement" as well as generalized "public lands/public nudity" advocacy. The differences between each movement, despite their largely shared common themes, philosophies, challenges, and history are to this day a bit antagonistic. Numerous organizations have been formed to support and protect the rights of people to be nude in both private and public venues, including the International Naturist Federation and Young Naturists America. The first of these organizations was the American League for Physical Culture, founded in the early 1930s by Kurt Barthel, who was inspired by his participation in the German Nacktkultur, a nudist movement which Barthal and two colleagues sought to duplicate in the U.S. This was the short-lived beginnings of the nudist movement in America.

In the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s, Americans once again began to view nudism as sinful. The Puritan background of America, with all of its hang-ups about the naked human body, could not be easily diffused. In 1941, when the US Postal Service revived the enforcement of the Com-stock Law, from 1873, publishers of naturist magazines felt inhibited to send their publications through the mail as they did not want to be fined. In 1958, after Dr. Ilsley Boone had been arguing before the Supreme Court for years that nudism was not pornographic, they finally agreed with him. The police raids of the ’40s and ’50s gradually came to an end with the last raid, on a nudist camp, in 1956 in Michigan. The Michigan Supreme Court, in 1957, ruled that nudists had the right to practice in private resorts and parks. The 1950s are now often referred to as the Golden Age of Nudism.

Following the Golden Age of Nudism, came one of the most famous sexual revolutions of America in the hippie movement. This was a time of free love and open nudity throughout the country but especially at a festival, concerts and other large group events. It is arguable whether the high prevalence of nudity was due to a strong need for self-expression among young adults of the day or simply reflective of the over-accessibility of recreational drugs at the time. Whatever the reason, the nudity of the hippie revolution brought nudism and naturism to the forefront of American society and made it less taboo to be discreetly naked, in the context of a private gathering or inside of a personal residence.

Progress has been made over the years in freeing the human body from censorship and socially imposed restraints. As worldwide communications and connections grow, information is more easily shared, and people’s perspectives are widened in regards to world history, cultural traditions, and the impact of society on the scope of those topics. Some would say people are becoming liberated, others would call it desensitized. No matter what term is put to it, the fact remains that, as milestones of restricting censorship are reached in the arts and entertainment industries, those achievements reach into the culture of the people.

Today, although there is still some level of censorship in all things, there is also safe and respectable ways to include nudity in art and life. The many organizations and movements over the past decades have, little by little, instituted an understanding of nudity as an art form while opening opportunities for safe expression of the varying perspectives regarding nudity. There have been several articles, journals and even books published purporting the benefits of nudity in families, as well as in public venues and events from concerts to yoga classes.

However, that is not to say that the struggle against censorship is, or ever will be, over. On both global as well as the local level, artists, entertainers, families, and individuals still must overcome varying obstacles to create, display and sell their art or to simply live according to their chosen lifestyle. In January of 2015, a photographer from Lansing, Michigan, Amanda Grieshop, had an exhibit, We Are Women, on display in one of the local galleries and event spaces. The showing featured black and white photographs of nude women, some embracing and even showing off their scarred and imperfectly beautiful bodies, others simply living in their skin. In a time when body image is of wide-spread interest and the cultural standards for beauty do not match up to the reality of the average person, Grieshop’s is a resounding body of work. However, when the local paper did a story on the exhibit, they covered the women’s nipples and genital areas with white bars. A theater event, which was also taking place in the event space at the time of the exhibit, requested that the same be done to the actual installation as their show was meant to be family-friendly and they did not want audience members to be offended by the surrounding art.

Censorship of nudity, like art and expression, will continue to change, evolve, and adapt throughout time. There will not come a time for humans when censorship is not considered an option by those who are easily, and sometimes illogically, offended by one thing or another. It is the challenge of each artist, and the duty of each individual, to persevere in the face of such adversity, to continue to create art which challenges the comfort level of the masses and opens up new perspectives for looking at the world. The internet continues to present new challenges to freedom from censorship as there is always an overwhelming number of people who would see the human body constantly covered rather than have to manage their own predisposition toward nudity and sexuality.


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Changes In The Depiction Of Nudity Throughout The History Of Art

May 17th, 2019

Over the centuries, nudity has been an important theme running through art. However, it has not always had the same degrees of importance, and indeed accepted as a feature of art during the last 2000 years or so. Sometimes and in some places, nudity has not only been accepted as a valid part of art, but it was also encouraged almost to the point of being revered. Yet nude art has been found in the Khajuraho temples, the other extreme is of religions taking a dislike to nudity can be cited as an obvious reason for it being less prominent in other parts of the world. Indeed in times and places when or where Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have had a dominant position, it was much harder for artists to get glimpses of nudity into their art at all. Conversely, other religions have had no problems with scenes of nudity in art, they were not concerned about covering up the human body at all.

Sometimes though artists were able to get around taboos in depicting nudity in their pieces of art that existed during their lifetimes. The apparent easing of restrictions about displaying nude art arguably demonstrates that cultural ideas about morality have changed over the centuries, well in some countries more than others at least. Some of the pieces of art evaluated here, and the artists that produced those works of art arguably played a part in altering culture and morality, whether or not they intended to do so. In the majority of cases, the artists were more concerned about being able to draw, paint, or sculpt whatever they wanted to do instead of changing their respective societies. This evaluates some of the artists that were involved in using nudity in some or even all of their works of art.

Antikythera Ephebe is a bronze statue of a naked young man, the first parts of which were discovered in an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Antikythera during the year 1900. It is not known who made this sculpture, who wanted it made, and where it was originally displayed. Divers kept finding extra pieces of this statue over the years. The true greatness of this statue was not apparent until it was restored for the second time in the 1950s. Before the restoration of the Antikythera Ephebe, art history had considered Ancient Greek sculptures of naked people to be adequate in terms of standards, yet this statue showed that whoever cast it in bronze was a very talented sculptor. After the fall of the Roman empire in the West, Europeans would not produce statues of such high quality until the Renaissance beginning in the 15th century.

The best estimates would place this piece of nude art back to 340 BC. There is no proof of who the statue is supposed to be. Perhaps the best guesses are of Paris, Hercules, or of Perseus. If it is of Paris, then it would be the only one of him in the nude, Greek sculptures tended to have him wearing a cloak and a distinctive cap so that viewers would know it was him, the anti-hero of Troy. The Ancient Greeks were completely at ease with nudity so at ease with seeing it in their works of art. The Greeks would have had similar statues in their temples and other public buildings and would have admired the quality of the sculpting.

The Khajuraho Temples built by the Rajput Kingdoms in India are dedicated to Hindu and Jain deities. There are twenty temples in the area, and the oldest ones are at least 1200 years old. The Khajuraho Temples are full of art pieces, carvings, and sculptures. Around ten percent of all the carvings as well as the sculptures show erotic and nude scenes. The Hindus, though we're not attempting to turn their temples into places decorated with adult themes, after all, children would come to worship with their families. Instead, they were solely interested in depicting aspects of peoples' everyday lives, so the priests that oversaw the construction of the temples had no qualms in having carpenters and stonemasons make the nude artifacts that were placed in the temples. The artifacts were meant to be of ordinary people doing things rather than the gods in nudity and sex. There was no intention to cause offense with the things depicted in the temples, and none would have been taken, certainly not when the temples were newly built.

The inclusion of these artifacts in the temples demonstrates that Hindus did not have any problems with looking at depictions of nudity and sex in any of their temples. From their perspective, there was, and remains nothing to be ashamed of in looking at images of naked people (even those showing sex scenes). Hinduism is thus a religion that has considerably fewer hang-ups concerning nudity than other faiths do. In that respect, Hinduism had a similarly relaxed view of nudity to the Ancient pagan religions that prevailed over much of Europe, the Middle East, and parts of North Africa before the spread of Christianity and Islam.

The exclusion of nudity from the art of most Christian countries would eventually be challenged due to the rediscovery of the classical world linked to the Renaissance based in Italy. Before that, rediscovery of Christian themes dominated the art of the Middle Ages, unless the artist was painting or sculpting a secular ruler or a rich patron. Even then, the paintings of people, whether they were real, or based on Biblical characters, did not achieve any kind of realism. Christians could and do have different opinions of nudity in art, Muslims are against it, for copying the image of any person was and remains against the fundamental beliefs of their faith.

Lucas Cranach the Elder was an artist that produced works of art that made people appear more realistic, and if that meant he had to depict them nude to do so, then he did. He gained a reputation for his realistic portraits of people linked to the court of the Elector Frederick of Wittenberg including the reformers Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon. He was therefore closely linked to the Protestant Reformation. Generally, he preferred to paint portraits of the wealthy, it paid well and kept him out of trouble.

The reason his merits are mentioned about nude art was for his art depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Showing Jesus almost completely naked during his death throes is definitely not the same as erotic statues. Instead Cranach the Elder used the nudity of Jesus to depict his humanity and suffering. Cranach's depictions of the crucifixion were among the most realistic produced. This was particularly the case with the one he made for the Stadtkirche in Weimar. It was ironic that they were placed in Lutheran churches because whenever more radical versions of Protestantism held sway all crucifixions, paintings and statues were removed. The most radical Protestant churches even removed stained glass windows and had whitewashed walls. They find any kind of art distasteful, especially in churches.

Michelangelo as a young man was an artist that regularly chose to do nude art, and in fact developed techniques for painting and especially sculpting the naked human form, which was widely copied for centuries after his death. At the time he was without a doubt the best sculptor Europe had witnessed at work since the Romans. Although nominally a Christian in his youth, Michelangelo greatly admired the art of the Greeks and Romans. His early attempts at art history were rediscovering.

Primarily Michelangelo regarded himself as a sculptor instead of being a painter, yet he made his name doing both. In his youth, there was room for the best Italian artists around to get lucrative commissions from patrons in Italy who were a bit more relaxed about what could or could not be depicted in art. However, a series of invasions and counter-invasions by the French and the Spanish forces would alter Italy drastically after 1520. From the sack of Rome in 1527, the Spanish forces effectively controlled most parts of Italy, and they were not keen about Renaissance art unless it could be used in the Counter-Reformation.

Undoubtedly, Michelangelo did his most meaningful work when he was younger and based in Florence. It was there where he did his most famous sculptures. These were completed when he was working for Lorenzo De Medici, then the Duke of Florence. These statues were all of the naked people sculpted along very similar lines to the sculptures of Ancient Greece and Rome. Michelangelo's technique was so good that he was actually able to sculpt naked people intertwining with each other. These were depicted best in the Battle of the Centaurs and the Pieta. At this stage of his very long career, Michelangelo believed that the only way to portray people artistically was to show them in the nude. The highlight of his early days was, without a doubt, the statue of David, a perfectly proportioned naked person if ever there was one.

Michelangelo's work in Florence gained him an unexpected admirer, Pope Julius II, who was embarking on rebuilding the Vatican. Julius was so desperate to have Michelangelo paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that he was prepared to allow the artist free license to paint whatever he wanted. So desperate in fact that Michelangelo was allowed to paint nude people from the first book of the Bible, Genesis. The scenes painted by him are all breathtaking. Later he returned to paint The Last Judgement, which is notably different in style as he was far less comfortable with nudity after becoming a devout Christian. So his most influential works were those from his youth, though he personally had grown to despise them in his old age.

Over a century after the death of Michelangelo, Francois Boucher was an artist that painted portraits of those linked to the court of Louis XV. That court had a freer atmosphere for painters than that of Louis XIV, and Boucher might have found it harder to receive patronage if he had gone to court twenty years earlier. At court, his main patron was Louis' favorite mistress, Madame Du Pompadour. She was an admirer of the way that Boucher painted people, he would paint a variety of paid-for portraits, and paintings based on a theme. Generally, it was the paintings based on a theme or inspired by a story, which inspired him to use nudity in his art. These pictures included The Toilet Of Venus, and Diana Leaving The Bath. The technique to paint them was really accomplished, and then the details were really lifelike.

Jean-Antoine Watteau was a Frenchman born in Valenciennes during 1684, his style was to influence his younger compatriot Francois Boucher. He went on to become a fairly fashionable painter who was linked to the Rococo school. Watteau moved to Paris to pursue his career as an artist after finishing his university studies. At first, he made a modest living as a scene painter before people started to take notice of his paintings. The time spent as a scene painter allowed him to develop his own style, and the way he painted lights and shading was a revelation to other artists and potential buyers alike.

The majority of his works were based on military events. He was content to put bits of nudity in his paintings, but only if it helped him to portray the image, he wanted to present on the canvas. The main picture that gave him the most publicity did not feature nudity at all, The Embarkation For Cythera, which he finished in 1717. This piece of art actually earned him a place at The Academy, and with the special status, it gave him a fair number of new commissions.

The main work he did that purposely showed nude art was Quellnymphe, and Reclining Nude but all his works were renowned for how he made the backgrounds more notable and contrasted between dark and light to give his paintings more of an emotional feel to them. For Jean-Antoine Watteau, including nudity in his art was incidental. Basically, he just wanted his pictures to tell a story, and he was content to include anything that would improve the impact of each piece of work. Watteau aimed to make everything included in his art look as realistic as possible, which is why he paid so much attention to detail, contrast, colors, light and dark, and shadows. His work was tinged with a hint of sadness as well as unfulfilled romance. Watteau only had a relatively short career, ended by his death in 1721.

Go forward more than a century, and the way some art was produced was changing in Britain. Walter Crane was an English painter from Liverpool born in 1845. Crane was a skilled painter and also a renowned illustrator of books. Because he mainly plied his trade by being an illustrator of children's books, he was not generally regarded as somebody that people would have thought would have used nudity in any of his art. In terms of style, he was influenced by John Ruskin and more importantly, his socialist views.

There were modest examples of nudity in some of his illustrations. For instance, Diana and Endymion and The Swan Maidens. The Renaissance Of Venus is the best known of his works to feature nudity. In terms of style, it shows that Crane admired the works of the Italian masters. However, due to the way the illustrations were printed, they look exactly what they are, late Victorian pieces of art and book illustrations. In terms of finish, it is more akin to a mural than an oil painting. It is a style imitated by the artists that drew adult themed postcards that could be brought at British seaside resorts in the early years of the 20th century.

Alfred Cheney Johnston used photography instead of canvas or stone to put nudity into his art. Johnston did actually train to be a portrait painter yet discovered that photographs of actors and actresses made him far more money. Originally he used his camera to take pictures to paint portraits after people had left his studio. Had he stuck to portrait painting, nobody would probably have heard of him, and the genre of erotic photography might have taken longer to have emerged.

The majority of the photographs he took were taken in and around New York. Johnston did most of his work for the theater owner Florenz Ziegfeld. In the publicity shots the showgirls, the Ziegfeld Follies were covered up, yet nude pictures were frequently taken. It is not clear whether these nude pictures were taken for his benefit or that of Ziegfeld. At the time the photographs of nude women were not published, or if they were parts of the women were covered up.

In 1937 Johnston published his only printed book, Enchanting Beauty, but this was edited to meet the American censorship laws of that period. He also took publicity shots for people who wanted to make it in Hollywood. The list of people he photographed that made it in Hollywood demonstrates that his publicity shots did allow people to get noticed by the major film studios. The list features the likes of Mary Pickford, Barbara LaMarr, Marie Prevost, and John Barrymore. More became known of his work after he donated 245 prints to the Library of Congress in 1960.

Johnston, in lots of ways, paved the way for the development of erotic photography, although that was probably an unintended side effect of a talented photographer simply trying to make the best living that he could. Photographers that followed him into this genre of art carried on using black and white prints to make it look better, when he started, it was virtually impossible to obtain the color film. He had a way of taking pictures of people in the nude that looked sophisticated, and erotic, but not tacky.

Photography, as a new form of art, was quicker to produce than earlier types of art. This means that photographic art forms and pictures featuring nudity can be produced in a matter of minutes instead of days, months, and even years. Setting up as an art photographer was, and is relatively cheaper than becoming a professional painter or sculptor. At the time when Johnston was working and producing his pictures a good eye for details and the patience to get everything positioned precisely where it had to go was required. These days pictures can be taken in an instant via a digital camera or smartphone and posted on social media worldwide within seconds. Perhaps the great artists of the past would have loved such technology, or maybe they would have hated it as it would not allow creativity flow for more than a few minutes.

In conclusion
Over the centuries in some parts of the world it has become easier to depict nudity in various forms of art, while in other places, it is something that is still frowned upon. Nudity was not always something that was hidden away, or that people felt ashamed of. That is why Hindus were relaxed enough about it to have nude artifacts in their temples, and the Greeks were content to have nude statues of bronze or marble displayed in public places. Hinduism and the ancient pagan religions regarded nudity as natural, and even what as far as teaching that the human body was beautiful.

The spread of Christianity and Islam altered attitudes towards nudity, and certainly made it much harder for artists to include it any pieces of art, which they produced. The Renaissance relaxed attitudes in some places, especially in Italy before the Spanish gained control. Michelangelo without a doubt produced some of the finest art that Europeans had seen in over 1000 years. Artists that followed have been able to gradually include more nudity in their works, while photography gave them a whole new medium to work with.

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Artist Theory Implied Nude vs. Full Nude vs. Pornographic What is the Difference?

May 17th, 2019

Today's society has blurred the lines between nude, fully nude, and pornography. TV, movies, and media advertising use nudity to sell their products. Looking at celebrity stars at various events show them baring more and more of their bodies. We are tantalized and inundated by the media with headlines about fashion fails that bare certain parts of a star's anatomy. So-called "Nip Slips" are given front-page attention, and the paparazzi styled photography show these peeks as a star's prized possessions.

These stars themselves often stage these types of exposures. There is a great deal of controversy whether Janet Jackson intentionally exposed herself on a nationally televised sporting event or not. Kim Kardashian's career could be argued to have started after a supposed leak of a private sex tape on the Internet. This followed a similar leak by Pamela Andersen's estranged lover. So where do we draw the line and what are the differences between the three types of nudity?

The church and religious teachings seem to hold no sway anymore. Except in one religion where exposure of any skin is a punishable crime. For an artist, photographer, and media creator, the line is difficult to see, let alone find the rules that correctly portray your subjects. Let's try to sort it all out, shall we?

Art in the form of statues, paintings, and now photography has always used the female form in various stages of undress. You only have to go the various art institutes, museums, and religious shrines around the world to see examples of this. Michelangelo's David is a prime example and is considered an outstanding work of art and a treasured piece of fine art. Rodin's famous statue "The Kiss" and he was famous for the way you see flesh in stone, as his work was so realistic. Bernini's "Rape of Persephone" as well shows nudity and none call it in bad taste, and yet rape is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. However, here it is, and it is a listed work of art that is in the world-class of art pieces. In fact, historical people in the nude hold a special fascination to us.

Cleopatra, it could be argued is the first Kim Kardashian as she made love to many powerful and historically significant men. She has been depicted countless time in the nude or partially nude for hundreds of years in sculpture, paintings, and in the film as media goes into the digital realm so do Cleopatra's breasts bared for all to see.

So, what are our definitions of Nude, Full Nude, and Pornography?
Nude, as defined by most, is anything that depicts a male or female form in the case of a woman from the waist up and exposing her full breast. The top of the breast is not considered nude if it doesn’t show the nipple or areola. For a man, it is considered nude if he is shown Au naturel or in his birthday suit. Nude art consists of paintings, sculpture, or any likeness, whether in a photo or digital of real or imagined human or human-like characters. This expansion of what is nude is due to the popularity of Anime characters who a part human and animal, such as the famous "Cat Girls," who often appear nude or semi-nude in videos. In Japan, it is considered ok to show this as they are technically not human, and the censors let it by. This includes pictures that depict things up to and including sexual intercourse as it isn't a human being involved. Western censors are a lot more critical, and if it looks like a human breast, it is considered nude.

Full nudity is defined as where both the breast and genitalia are exposed. The male penis, testicles, and scrotum are allowed as long as it is not erect and is in its natural state. In the female, the pubic mound may be shown either trimmed, shaved or Au Natural. The vulva and labia must not be exposed or visible in the final work of art. Also, the erect phallus is verboten as well. Strangely, erect nipples, which in the female are a sign of sexual arousal, are ignored by most critics and censors.

Pornography is where most people are concerned, and religious groups get the most enraged. While the Catholic Church is the owner of the record for many famous works of art, which feature nudity. Even to the point of showing the suckling of a child at its mother's breast, these are not considered pornographic in nature. However, pieces of art, which show the sexual organs in their aroused state or anything, that displays the: vagina, vaginal opening, clitoris, labia major or minor engorged, or anus. These parts of the female anatomy are deemed offensive and obscene. Though many others consider them a beautiful part of the female form. In fact, a whole vocabulary has sprung up to describe pornographic works of art. Words like: rude, lewd, filthy, X-Rated, XXX, porn, dirty, raw, bareback, perverted, degenerate, disgusting, vulgar, and indecent. This is only a small sampling of the verbiage with negative impact.

In contrast, words that describe eroticism, which is accepted in most cultures. The words that describe this are: sexy, erotic, disrobe, naked, sensual, voluptuous, and risqué. These words serve to tease the senses and are used in the news, advertising for many products and haven't any negative connotations when applied to the artwork.

There is even a third group of words that allows you to talk about the vulva, penis, and vagina and no one lifts an eyebrow if you use the words sexual organs or even testes in polite conversation. This third group is called clinical English and allows us to talk about things that, in another context, would be forbidden or go against cultural morals. Medical art can depict almost anything imaginable without fear of ridicule. The context may be the single factor that separates allowed and taboo topics in the art that gets them labeled as pornographic or nude.

What do you mean by context?
The reason something is considered pornographic is if it intends to arouse sexual feelings in a person. Both the church and the state both want to control our lives. Making sex is a sin unless it is through a sanctioned relationship as defined by society and religious tenets is forbidden. Sex is one of humanities strongest urges, and society wants to ration it and meter it out as a reward for obedience to social norms.

Porn is considered by those who are involved in its production consider it an art form equal with the others, and there is nothing wrong depicting the sex act, which is the main sticking point with religion as looking at what is considered porn allows one to give vent to sexual frustration.

The control of sexual release is what society and religion are attempting to control or prevent. If this issue were removed from the equation, there would be no difference between any of the various types of art today involving the clothed or unclothed body. This simple observation shows us the hypocrisy of the whole system. If people don't like a certain picture, they don't look at it no matter what the topic is.

But, because of ancient beliefs and cultural retractions that decide for us what is proper to view and think about individual paintings, statues, and photographs are not on display and in the case of many artworks are locked away. An entire generation of German paintings, sculpture, and other artwork has been warehoused and locked away from view since WWII in Germany, as it is considered pornographic by some even though in many cases there is no nudity involved.

For the artist who is attempting to create their art. They must toe the line if they want to get their work accepted nowadays. Society, law, cultural beliefs, and the law dictates what you can paint, sculpt or take a picture of and be able to put on display without fear of ridicule or even defamation and destruction.

A few years back, a painting of Mayor Washington was shown in a woman's negligee. This raises a furrow not seen since the days of booking in Germany. Alderman rushed down a torn the picture down from an art exhibition. Similar malice happened in France over the depiction of a religious figure in a news periodical. Mayor Washington was not nude, and at worst, it could be considered political satire. Yet it illustrates how many feel about the images that are seen in art today.
A woman may be put to death in some countries if she models for a photo shoot. One famous music star showed her ankle in front of a holy site and was castigated in public forums. This prompted a quick retraction of the photo and a public apology. A comic book was banned in one of America's biggest allies in the Middle East during the Kuwait liberation from Iraq. The comic was for the consumption of the servicemen that protected Saudi Arabia from a possible invasion, and the magazines were intended for their use only. In fact, a reference to this ban is not even available via search engines. This shows how far censorship has progressed on the net in some countries.

Wonder Woman is a symbol of Woman's rights, and she is fully clothed, yet many feel even the amount of skin she shows is too much. Barbie, another cultural icon is banned in many nations, and a Burka Barbie was released during her 50th anniversary. The clothing was tastefully done by a famous designer. This prompted cries of outrage on this side of the Atlantic as it was said it was a sign of oppression of women for not exposing her face or any skin.

You see most of the world wants to control what you will see in art whether it is paintings, art that appears in the newspaper, or what you see in movies today. Nudity is just a convenient ploy used by those in power to show they are doing something while larger issues are remaining unresolved.

So how far do you think your full frontal painting of a nude of a woman would be taken as part of cultural exchange between Riyadh and New York's Guggenheim Museum? What would happen to a Van Gogh nude sent to Israel? Israel is a country that whites out women’s pictures from newspapers, magazines, TV and replaces them with men. Hilary Clinton was removed from pictures in Israeli newspapers after the Osama Bin Laden hunt reached its conclusion.

It's not the terminology or the subject matter
Nude, Full Nudity, and Pornographic are just linguistic constructs that hide the true issues today. It is not a picture of a woman having evil intercourse. On the contrary, it is the most significant activity two people can engage in. So why is a depiction of it rejected by the art world and society? It is all related to the arousal of emotions involved with sex.

Implied nudity is everywhere. Look at the Met Gala and Kim Kardashian where she wore a gown that was implied nudity at the very least and totally over the wall into the pornographic depending on who you ask.

Bathing suits today all imply nudity and any event that Hollywood hosts show more skin that you could possibly imagine. JLO has started a trend of showing the underside of the breast, which has traditionally been forbidden territory for pictures and media art. It is not only implied nudity that comes into question. It's the proximity that genitalia comes in close contact, which is the danger sign for art in the west.

An erect penis is considered a precursor to intercourse, and thus you can't paint it or photograph it unless you want to be thought to be in league with Larry Flint of Hustler fame (or notorious depending on your point of view.) Yet in Japan, a fully erect Penis statue is put on display and women touch it in public and rub it for good luck and to invoke its ability to promote fertility. Ancient customs in Europe show the Maypole as a symbol of male potency.

The Cerne Abbas Giant is a giant with a club, and an erect penis cared into the English countryside, and it is a cultural treasure and landmark. It is not considered obscene or pornographic.

In Beijing in the White Temple, there are Buddhist statues that depict Buddhas and demons having intercourse with women with full penetration of the penis and vagina, and it is on display for all to see.

Finally, there are the Tantric temples of Khajuraho India Where various forms of sexual congress are carved in graphic detail showing sexual contact between men and often multiple partners simultaneously. No one would say these are pornographic in India. They depict various animals portrayed as Gods having sex with human beings as well.

The Arabian Nights tales as translated by Sir Richard Burton are art in written form, and some editions show the various acts between men and woman in graphic detail with color illustrations, and this was written during the Victorian Era, which was one of the most sexually repressed periods in English History. These editions are highly prized and considered art treasures.

Not to be outdone the Indian Kama Sutra is considered a classic and is hundreds of years old. Japan's pillow books and silkscreen paintings are also considered works of art and not pornography. These date from the 12th and 18th century. One of the most famous is the "Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon." Similar Books are to be found in China as well.

One could argue that what is considered hardcore XXX Rated magazines, videos, and films is just the current age’s version of these classic art forms. Which brings us to the Internet where many experts believe that over 40% and as high as 70% of all Internet traffic is pornographic by nature. Here every form of sex act imaginable can be acted out by those who care to indulge their wildest fantasies. Live action and with any race or ethnic background one could desire along with everything in between.

Many of the suppliers of these websites consider themselves performance artists and have as much right to practice their arts as a painter or photographer, and sculptor. Since no real contact occurs between performer and client is not considered a crime as no physical touching of genitalia or penetration is possible.

However, in Japan, this is changing as well. Types of "art forms" have taken on new meaning. Electronic virtual reality skinsuits transmit stimulation during a computer simulation between an Amine Character or real live sex partner that you feel their touch, and you can even be brought to orgasm. The Japanese are billing this as the next form of computer graphics technology that will replace reality. There is now a 1st generation of sculpted lifelike female sexbots that not only look like a woman but are fully functional as well. There is also a cheaper model that performs sexual stimulation on the male via a robotic hand that is modeled after a woman's. This, too, can be argued as an outgrowth of sculpture.

In all these cases mentioned it is being considered by the creators that even there is full nudity and by western standards pornographic in nature, all of it is deemed to be normal and is only an extension of current art being practiced with the use and help of technology.

In America, there have been experiments where tiny wires are embedded in a person's brain that can stimulate the pleasure centers directly. Who is to say this would not develop into a new art form where a virtual world may be created that looks and all your senses tell you is real. Here a nudist would be typical as everyone you would see in the raw and unclothed state. Computer graphically sculpted perfect forms would be tantalizing, and their very touch would induce sensations in your brain that you wouldn't know the difference from the real thing. Would this be considered, nudity, full nudity, or pornography? Only time will tell when it comes to the future of the arts.

In conclusion
You can see the theme of this article believes that there really is no difference between all three terms. It is just a semantic sorting device that society uses to restrict our activities and control us. Other nations on earth do not understand Western man's hang-ups about nudity, full nudity, and porn. In many societies, all three areas are accepted as a natural human activity and have no stigmata attached to them.

America had reached a milestone when it accepted same-sex marriages. Perhaps the next hurdle is to remove the vocabulary that divides art into various categories that restrict its expression and how it is treated by society. If we are a truly free society, should we not be able to exercise our artistic talents and have them be appreciated as art and not have them called lewd or pornographic?

Japanese and Chinese courtesans were skilled in erotic art, poetry, and music. In China, ancient schools taught women how to pleasure and be pleasured by men. They were recorded by word, sculpture, and in graphic form as well. These activities were considered art, and a practitioner was honored. The same holds true in India, where the skills of dance and love went hand in hand with sculpture and painting. These arts are the forerunners of our own photography and computer graphics arts as well.

So perhaps ultimately you will have to make the final determination as to what your definitions are. What goes on inside someone's home is their private business and the type of art they choose to enjoy is not something that no government or societal judgment should regulate, and it should be up to the individual to make their own choices in this matter.

Perhaps if this were true today, there would be fewer problems in the world.


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Creative Artistic Expression Through The Ages

May 16th, 2019

When you think of the top painting artist of all time, you think of Leonardo DA Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Raphael, and Masaccio just to name a few. These are some of the most famous artists, but there are numerous talented individuals, who express artistic values, and have been doing it for some time now.

Did you ever wonder when the first creative expressions of what we call modern-day artwork appeared? Also, have you ever wondered who the artist was, what were their different styles, and what movements did they start? There have been symbols drawn on cave walls and etchings found in remote areas around the world, which had to have been drowned by indigenous people in specific areas globally. To them, their particular work of art probably did not have artistic value, but probably was more of a means of communication, for their particular period.

I would venture to say that individuals living in caves were more interested in utilizing any types of drawings and figure making talents as a form of supplemental expression for survival. It is hard to imagine a member of an early age family sitting down and consciously engaging in primitive drawing or sculpturing, expressly to create an art piece. However, since I did not live in the day of early men and women, I can't say for sure that there was not an actual artist on the scene. However, artistic merit could be assigned to expressions of creative works of this period by certain period historians.

Through the ages, the artwork has been characterized by different periods of work and art expression. The periods that I have discovered include the Impressionism, Post Impressionism, Fauvism, German Expressionism, Abstract Art, Cubism, Futurism, Suprematism, Constructivism, and De Stijl. Each period just mentioned had its specific well-known artist, like Pierre Auguste Renoir of the Impressionism period. Vincent Van Gogh was the work of art stand out during the Post Impressionism period. Henri Matisse showcased the Fauvism Era. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was the stand out during the German Expressionism period. The Abstract Art Era had great Georges Braque. The world famous Pablo Picasso did more than one famous art piece, during the Cubism timeline. The Futurism period was graced by the artistic values of Giacomo Balla. Kazimir Malevich was the standout of the Suprematism timeline. The Constructivism era had El Lissitzky, and finally, Piet Mondrian was the standout during the De Stijl era.


Famous Painting and Authors of Genuine Artwork
Below you will hear about famous painters from different periods and the unique paintings that they contributed to society. Even though many of the artists had some notoriety at the time that they created their works of art, their creations depicted below had certain qualities that placed them into a select category. Their paintings capture the viewer and grab their attention in their own special way. Each style was different, and each painting listed below had that extra eye-catching element that would hold the viewer's attention and make them take a second look.

In my opinion, if the paintings listed below were placed in an art gallery in any country, with a combination of additional paintings, showcasing different persuasions, the ones listed below would command the second and third looks from art critics with different eyes for talent. Every single painting listed has eye appeal elements, attention-grabbing qualities, and many have shock value resignation, that qualifies them for the title of a unique work of art. Their artistic merit and creative expression definitely activate the sense perceptions of admirers, whomever they are.

Below you will hear about ten works of art by ten unique painting artist.

Girl with a Watering Can
This was painted by Renoir during the Impressionist era. It is an eye-catching chapter of Mademoiselle Leclere. She is wearing a blue dress while holding a watering can. It is very attention holding because she resembles a doll posing. Renoir created this painting in 1876. The Impressionism period was from 1870 to 1890. The artistic values established during this period was where his growth originated. Girl with a Watering Can, too many viewers, may seem simplistic. However, they will stare and watch it, mainly due to the image of the girl.

Sorrow
An emotional Vincent van Gogh painting that is very striking and noticeable. This painting was done in his early years. It is a painting of Clasina Maria Hoornik, who was 32 and pregnant at the time. Given her set of circumstances, when the painting was created in 1882, it took courage from both parties to complete this work of art. This was done during the Post Impressionism era, which was from 1885 to 1905. Much artistic merit was attributed to painters from this timeline. Sorrow condors up feelings of remorse in individuals, which holds their attention for periods.

Woman in a Purple Coat
While viewing this Henri Matisse painting, you observe the persona of his assistant Lydia Delectorskaya. This was an oil painting that captures the essence of their companion relationship, which they carried on for many years. She is captured while wearing a Moroccan costume, which is very exotic. Matisse was part of the Fauvism period, from 1905 to 1910. However, he painted Woman In A Purple Coat towards the end of his oil painting career, in 1937. He started creating paper cutouts in 1950, and at this time stopped oil painting completely. Woman in a Purple Coat has an alluring attraction, which sparks many second looks.

Standing Nude with Hat
This work was done by German Expressionism artist Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in 1910. The German Expressionism period was 1880 to 1938. This particular painting immediately grabs your attention. This woman is nude except for a hat; she is wearing shoes and a small bracelet, necklace, and earrings. He aimed to overthrow the conservative German art traditions. He acquired inspiration from German Gothic and primitive art. Standing Nude with Hat definitely has shock value, along with a mesmerizing attraction.

Woman with a Guitar
Done by Georges Braque, who was part of the Abstract Art period, which was from 1907 onward. This particular painting was completed in 1913 in France. Braque utilized visual elements, but he utilized them very independent like. His works were more or less divorced from the actual object itself, but more of a version of it. He definitely mixed form, tone, texture, and shape to construct his own visualization of what he was seeing. A woman with a Guitar is a perfect example of this. Its complexity holds your attention, while your mind tries to piece things together.

Girl Before a Mirror
Pablo Picasso, who was one of the greatest all-time painters of the Cubism period. This period was from 1907 to 1915. This painting was created in March of 1932. When first viewing this painting, one is reminded of earthly pleasures. It strikes a cord of questionable morality. Marie Therese Walter is the women featured in the painting, who was Picasso's mistress during his youth. Picasso presents her in a duel reflection, both fronts, and in profile. This was an oil, canvas creation and is very much frequented today at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Girl Before a Mirror is simply an attention-generating work of art, as most of the Picasso creations were.

Girl Running on Balcony
A creation by Giacomo Balla, who was one of the great Futurism era painters, which ran from 1909 to 1914. He painted this 1912 visualization of one of the initial forerunners of the Italian movement. You can view this painting today at the Museo del Novecento in Mila. He uses many squares that fragment the image of the girl, which makes the viewers focus on her fragmented motion and not on her form. There is a constant blurred line effect, which is captured in the girl's steps through seemingly nowhere but infinite space. Girl Running on the Balcony is a challenge for the more analytical minded art lovers. If you love puzzles, you are easily attracted to this art piece.

The lady on a Tram Station
This piece was done by Kazimir Malevich in 1913. Malevich was one of the artists of the Suprematism period from 1915 to 1925. He was a Russian painter who utilized a style that was geometric, abstract, with elements of Futurism and Cubism. Lady in a Train Station, when first viewed has the effect of making you think. You wonder what he thought when he set out to construct this oil painting. Many who first view this painting, find it rather bizarre. Malevich had many characterizations, like one of Russia's most prominent modern painters, the founder of the Suprematist movement, an initial pioneer of geometric abstract art, plus art theoretician. The lady on a Tram Station seems to be a combination of many of his dimensions combined. You will find yourself looking at it and not really knowing why.

Data Double
El Lissitzky is a very unorthodox piece of work. Lissitzky was unconventional, he was Russian, a well known modern painter, polemicist, architect, photographer, typographer, and a famous designer. He was from the Constructivism period from 1913 to 1930. His artwork seems to be a mixture of digital mirror reality vs. the virtual world. His Data Double creation seemed to reflect these thought patterns. This work reflected his seeking to explore possibilities between alternative worlds. Data Double definitely attracts the attention of a certain kind of art lover. If you are attracted to this type of art, you have to like this painting.

Gray Tree
This painting was completed by Piet Mondrian, who was a member of the De Stijl era from 1917 to 1931. He completed Gray Tree in 1911, and it is exhibited at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, at the Hague. Gray Tree is faceted and abstract, with the tree being somewhat oval in shape. This is a practice that the Cubist utilized. De Stijl was a Dutch style that Piet Mondrian developed, and was purely abstract. He was intent on developing a universal visual language free from the nationalism, which reflected the Great War. Somewhere in his mind, the Gray Tree reflected these visualizations. Taking everything into consideration, Gray Tree is very different, out of the ordinary work of art that certain art lovers are attracted to. Many other art lovers need to just stare at it for a while.

The Age of sculpture
Many believe that sculpture is the earliest form of art. Much like the paintings found in early caves, there were carvings of hunters, animal, and of action situations found in prevalent places, during early civilizations times. During these periods, the sculpture was probably utilized as what they thought was some sort of supernatural aid for hunters.

The earliest emerging civilizations, like Mesopotamia and Egypt, reflected strong ancestors beliefs. The majority were reflective of the hear after. Especially Egyptian sculpture art. Most of the art in Egypt dealt with the Pharaoh, sun and moon gods, and half man-half animal gods. As the civilizations evolved, the different sculptures also did. Egypt's claim to fame was the huge slabs of stone used for monumental sculpture. There was a strong emphasis on large and mega creations. Starting with Egypt, moving on to the Assyrian influence. The Assyrians focused on the stone carving of monsters, winged bulls, and five-legged creations with human heads. They were heavily into ceremonial rituals which featured their creations. After that, the Babylonians came on the scene. The Babylonians utilized color in the tiles and buildings. Even their guardian animal gods were colorful. They were noted in one of the wonders of the world at that time. Soon the Persian influence was visible. The Persians were very skilled in creating objects with gold and bronze. They integrated this technique into the formations of their sculptures.

The Greeks were into nude sculptures heavily. They created gigantic statues like that of Apollo, who depict gods and heroes. Nike was the winged female personification that stood for victory. Around the fourth century, the Greeks changed from abstraction to naturalism. They started creating statues in natural proportions. Then the Romans established a style that is most visible in this day and age. The Romans assimilated a lot of the art characteristics of the Greeks and the Etruscans. The main contributions of their artistic sculptors to the art world were portraits. The Roman styles seem to take the opposite track of those of Greek sculptors. They became more simplistic in an abstract way. The Early Christian Sculpture reflected the footprint of the Roman styles, in the Churches in Rome.

Different modern-day countries have sculpture antiquities which reflect their heritage. Many of these different cultural icons have a priceless value assigned to them, reflective of their country's rich history. Unfortunately, many of these priceless creations are being destroyed because of wars. Fortunately, many countries faced with these culture threatening situations are finding ways to protect and preserve their historical art heritages, regardless of country skirmishes.

The Sculpture of Lady Justice
Author Unknown - One of the greatest and most visible sculptures in the world today, but has no specific author assigned to it. However, it is found in courthouses worldwide, law offices, and justice buildings virtually everywhere. This global sculpture has multiple names, which include Lady Justice, Blind Justice, Scales of Justice, and one name that dates back to the Romans and Greeks, which is Goddess of justice and law.

Starting with Egypt, this statue was depicted as the Goddess Maat and Isis. The Greeks characterized her as Dike and Themis. The Romans called her Iustitia, and their image is the one that modern society holds and displays in courthouses and justice buildings. She has a modern duplication of a woman blindfolded, holding scales, with a sword pointing down. The blindfold means blind or fair justice. She holds a sword in her right hand, pointing down, which represents punishment. She holds the scales in her left hand above the sword, which indicates evidence before any punishment is rendered. Truly, this is one of the most meaningful sculptures throughout history.

Pieta
The author is Michelangelo - This sculpture is of the Virgin Mary holding her son, Jesus Christ after his death on the cross. Michelangelo created this work of art in 1498. It took him two years to finish this masterpiece, which was chiseled from a single section slab of marble stone. The French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères commissioned the work. This work was unprecedented in Italian sculpture. Michelangelo struck a balance between naturalism and the classic beauty of the Renaissance era. Michelangelo's characterization of the Pietà features a younger version of Mary, unlike many other artists, had shown her. Most of Mary's body is covered with large drapery, blending the two figures quite naturally in appearance. Michelangelo wanted to present a positive version of the communion between man and God, being Christ on earth.

Venus de Milo
Alexandros of Antioch- This unique sculpture named Venus de Milo was constructed between 100 and 130 B.C. Its arms and original plinth have been lost. It is believed to be a sculpture of Venus Aphrodite. The marble statue was discovered by accident in the field of a farmer. The Greek farmer who discovered this treasure was called Yorgos. This happened in 1820 while he was digging on the island of Milos. After news got out of his discovery, the Choiseul archeological expedition from France arrived, purchased it, then took it to France where Louis XVIII named it Venus de Milo. Today it is visible in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Photography As Artwork
When we talk about photography as having artistic values, we need to take several things into consideration. During the early days of the initial emergence of photography, photos were just a way of dabbling into something new. You might even say that they were just a new fad experiment. The field of photo artist is basically an extension of a regular artist who simply utilizes a camera instead of a brush.

The Steerage - By Alfred Stieglitz
In the year 1907, the very first photo that could be considered, a photo work of art was created. This photo happened to be done by Alfred Stieglitz, and it was called The Steerage. The photo was of a mixture of passengers on board a steamship, who were traveling in the lower class section of an international cruise. They were traveling from New York to Germany. This photograph was labeled as one of the best photos of all time. History analyst says that it captured the first works of modern art in a photograph. To many, this was the start of photography as an art piece.

The Superstar of The Visual Art Movement
Andy Warhol was one of the most famous modern day photography icons ever, in addition to being proficient at painting, drawing, sculpture, music, film, printmaking, and silk screening. His photographs were very different in several ways. He did a lot of studio-based portraits. Some of his clients included Keith Haring, Maria Shriver, Pia Zadora, and Joan Collins. He loved to work with Polaroids, plus take a lot of black and white photos. In addition to Fine Art Photography, Andy Warhol was proficient in Portrait Photography, Black and White Photography, Color Photography, Landscape Photography, and Still-life Photography.

Fine Art photography
This is when an artist reaches the point of creating something with their camera, which happens to bring all factors together, to create a super unique photo. The elements of lighting, focus, and composition go into the capture of such a photograph. The end result of exceptional photos perhaps at the moment may not be placed in museums or historical places, but more to the tune of office decor, rooms of a house, or even to show in photo galleries.
There have been, and still, are, numerous photo artist, who have established themselves in the six fields just mentioned. Compared to painting and sculpturing, photography is still a changing and evolving form of creative expression. Not too long ago, a photo artist was developing their shots and negatives in dark rooms. Today they utilize the most advanced digital cameras on the market, to create the shots that stand out from mediocrity. It is almost as if a new form of art has developed right before our eyes.

Whereas Andy Warhol utilized Polaroids, today's photo artist have access to some of the most advanced photographic equipment ever devised. The new types of advanced equipment have taken this field of art to a new level of production and creation. However, we still have the past, present, and the future.

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A History Of American Censorship Laws, Nudity In The Publics Eye

May 16th, 2019

The origins of "American Censorship Laws" relating to nudity are vague at best. There was a time when America had no federal laws either for or against nudity. The First Amendment actually protects your rights in this area, under the right to freedom of expression. However, local laws are another story. Local laws take precedence over nudity in public, such as federal parks, lands, beaches, and other areas. So under local and state laws in America, you can be arrested for nudity in public. To top it off, nudity is against the law on a person's own property, if it can be observed through the windows, in yards, or any area visible to the general public. There are times when these local and state laws conflict with a citizen's constitutional protections for freedom of expression. This may be the case when the nudity is related to a performance of the arts or even a political demonstration.

Special situations are tolerated in certain states of America, where going nude is tolerated or allowed. These cases have special requirements, being that they are with private facilities, and not visible to the public outside of the private facilities. Nudity laws, for the most part, were built-in the culture of the earlier settlers in America. It appears that the aversion to nakedness has religious undertones. In early trials of the colonist, several judges have pointed to the Bible for reference against nudity.

There was a case study dating back to 1877, where the Supreme Court of one of the states reflected on how Adam and Eve were compelled to wear fig leaf clothing. They pointed out that this was done so that they would not gaze of each others nakedness. In the early 1900s in the USA, women were required to wear layers of clothing while swimming at public beaches and swimming pools. Annette Kellerman, an Australian swimmer, in 1907 was arrested in Boston for wearing a one-piece bathing suit. Local officials labeled this as public indecency. There was a backlash from the public in regards to this arrest; The end result was worldwide acceptance of the one-piece suit by 1910.

American Censorship Laws

In the year 1842, the first federal obscenity law in the U.S came about. This law was brought about by the US Customs Service, to seize what it deemed as immoral and obscene visual material. This was done even though the service did not actually define those terms. Several individual states had already enforced these laws early in the century. They zeroed in on illustrations, books, and other printed expressions with sexual content. This was done without any accurate legal definition of actual language describing immoral, lewd, or obscene material.

In 1873 Anthony Comstock was an American grocery clerk that became a social activist. He persuaded Congress to expand the federal obscenity law. The major enforcer of this corrupt and depraved standard was The new Comstock Law. This law barred sending any classified obscene, deemed lewd, or lascivious type book through the mail. Also, hand pamphlets, clear pictures, graphic print, or other clandestine publication of degenerate and morally indecent character were forbidden.

Anthony Comstock was deputized as a special agent of the U.S. Post Office. He had a 40-year tenure as head of the New York society for the suppression of vice. During this time, Comstock seized and destroyed thousands of books. He also did the same to various magazines, illustrated material, and what he considered contraceptive advertisements, sex devices, or anything of this sort.

When Did They start?

Basically, every since civilized men and women started forming groups of different sorts, various governments and powerful religions have made attempts to crack down on any type of expression, that posed a serious threat to their order of things. This would be in the form of books, what they considered as blasphemous speech, certain songs, the sexual expression of any sort, various jokes, pictures, old wives tales, just plain old sexual information, and most definitely going nude.

Around the end of the 16th century in Europe, there was a movement noted by Philippe Aries, in which certain pedagogues refused to let their children be exposed to indecent printed material and books. During the middle period of the 18th century, the notion of sexual childhood innocence fueled an anti-masturbation mania in Europe, as well as America. By the same token, literature and sexually stimulating art were lumped into this category, also.

This way of thinking grew and festered into a movement. During the late 19th century, there was a fusing of anti-vice grips, anti-youth corruption groups, and certain religious factions, which generated the political infrastructure for a massive crackdown of sexual speech and expression in America.

Where Did They Start?

You might say that ground zero of American censorship laws, and the way that nudity is viewed in the public eye had a start in 1868. During this time, there was a case called Regina v. Hicklin. This was started in the English courts, but the American courts soon adopted the rulings. The English coined a definition of obscenity, which was deemed criminally punishable.

The so-called Hicklin standard became the new moral kid on the block. American courts embraced this ruling. Now fast forwarding to 1930, some more reasonable courts rejected the Hicklin standard for interpreting morality. Mary Ware Dennett was a birth control proponent and author, who stirred things up a bit. She was involved in a case about her sex education pamphlet called The Sex Side of Life. Her material, along with a book was written by James Joyce called Ulysses was blocked by the U.S. Customs Department. They refused to let the material come through customs, stating that it was obscene.

Mary Ware Dennett was convicted under obscenity laws, but they were later reversed in 1930 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The court realized that there should be a clear and reasonable version along educational lines, for children to learn about sexual matters. They reiterated that clearly everything with a sexual coronation is not lewd and indecent. Three years later there was a reversal of the Ulysses verdict rendered upon James Joyce. This was pushed by John Woolsey, who was a federal judge. He ruled that her work did not initiate deprave and corrupt thoughts in readers' minds.

In 1957 The Supreme Court made an obscenity ruling in the case Roth v. the United States. In essence, the justices stated that if the material has no redeeming social value, it is not protected by the 1st Amendment. What this did was to open up the field to interpretation experts, who would tie up various rulings in court litigation for years. Some might say, that even though a ruling was rendered, everything related to censorship laws and nudity, was just circumvented for the time being.

Why Did They start?

These actions were started for numerous reasons. The main one being, that first one person, then a group of individuals puts their heads together, then they decided what is best for the public in general. The initial pretense was for the protection of the children. However, using this premise, when does well-balanced thinking enter the scenario? The children need to be told what they need to know in life, to function in a reasonable, responsible, mature sexual manner.

The Brennan verdict created controversy for the next sixteen years. Courts kept on trying to figure if the material had any redeeming social importance. In 1973 the obscenity law took on a new twist. The Supreme Court announced a new obscenity criteria test that empowered local communities to set their own individual censorship standards. This took the monkey off the back of prosecutors. They no longer had to prove if material had to redeem social importance or not.

Below is the three-part test that was to be applied to potential obscenity law violations.

First - Is there an overt display of sexual organs in a lewd or suggestive manner, plus does any material describe or depict activity in an offensive way or manner. Also, if the body shown or described as an attempt to educate the viewer or reader, there was no violation.

Second - Can the average person view or read the material without taking offense to the contents. Also, if contemporary community standards are applied to the material in question, will the average person receive the redeeming value of the contents.

Third - Is there universal artistic, scientific, political, or literary value of the material, when viewed by the average citizen.

Also, certain states went in one direction and others in the opposite direction, about what they would enforce. Certain states located in regions of favorable climates, were more lenient on nudity, for the simple reason that it brought in revenue to the state and local governments. Nude beaches, for instance, would generate more money for the local governments than building community centers. This may seem ridiculous, but the lure of revenue pouring into a strapped local government's economy can alter the thinking of many people.

Do Other Countries Have Them?

There is a plus-minus factor when it comes to other countries and their censorship laws. Every single country has some sort of law of this type. To be reasonable, the ones which will be presented here are the ones to the left and right of the United States. Plus the field will be narrowed down a bit, and deal with the nudity element of obscenity laws. Those countries include Brazil, Canada, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Scandinavian countries, Spain, and the United Kingdom. You will find that their laws are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

More liberal countries tend to have less harsh censorship laws. This type of law usually reflects the will of the people. The countries of Spain, Canada, the UK, Scandinavian countries, and Brazil are more relaxed with their views towards the human body. Hence, their views and laws towards nudity and how it is viewed through the public eye is less suppressive and more mainstream. In the countries just mentioned, under certain circumstances, individuals can indulge in nudity on certain beaches and other similar activities, without being out of place or receiving any threat of censorship.

On the other end of the spectrum are countries like Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and virtually all of the countries located around the two just mentioned, have harsh laws and penalties to match. Public nudity of any sort, and even the women revealing anything but their eyes, in some of these countries, is punishable by extreme measures. Nude sunbathing, skinny dipping, or anything of this sort is condemned, based on religious, cultural, and extreme points of view.

How Were These Laws Passed?

These laws were passed because the individuals of society put their heads together, and formulated a general governing law for an entire group of people, of which they were a part of. However, when challenged, they were tried and tested in the courts. Many of the laws were upheld by the lower courts, but quite a few made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Once this happened, universal rulings were handed down, and whatever was decided became the law of the land.

In America, it only takes one person to get something in their mind, which they feel passionate about. Now this something in their mind can be real or imaginary. Next, they start a petition and get a lot of other people on board and converted to their way of thinking. In progression, they utilize various forms of media, to draft the general public to their way of thinking. Once their agenda is in the minds of the public, they will try to place their idea of a voting ballad for the general public to vote into law, or they will attempt to get their legislators to bring the proposed law up for a vote.

Now if the proposed laws are the type that no level headed official would vote on, based on its own self worth, they will try a different tactic. This tactic is to attach the proposed bill to a valuable piece of legislation, as an attempt to get it passed as a rider. This is also known as a tag along or a worthless piece of legislation that could not stand on its own, but as a rider, it passes and becomes a law, regardless of its civil worth.

What Was Their Reasoning For Such Laws?

The reasoning behind the formulating of such laws was religious in nature, based on suppressed sexual urges, and also based on insecurities related to their fear of change. One of the main reasons for the attempted control of sexual expression is fueled by politics. Many ambitious individuals view this field as an open slam dunk case for them to ride into a political office. They construct their jargon and campaign around any obscenity issue and use it as an attack mechanism for publicity, votes, and eventually a political office. This type of person will just as easily look the other way on issues of this sort if enough money was donated to their campaign war chest.

The problem really gets complicated when several of the politicians who think this way form alliances. They will protect each others legislation, regardless if there is any redeeming social value or not. When looking into individual laws on the books, one quickly realizes that many should never have become laws in the first place. However, once they are on the books, anyone who opposes them will soon find out that they are in for a painstakingly rough time to remove them.

Reasons Why We Don’t Need Them

When you see other more progressive countries, with virtually limited legal constructs regarding their sexual mores and Folkways, you have to question the ones staring you in the face. These other countries established systems seem to be surviving and not falling victim to moral degeneracy. Therefore, this is a true indicator that change is possible. Instead of relying on censorship to fight suppressed urges and pent up frustrations, honest, and frank discussions might be a better alternative.

Every now and then someone or some group will challenge some oppressive sexuality, nudity, or obscenity laws. When challenged, many of the facts that were accepted in the past are exposed as nothing more than a ridiculous piece of legislation, with no value whatsoever to the general public. When this happens to one piece of legislation, it makes you wonder, how many more ridiculous pieces of legislation are on the books around the country, that are obsolete.

How and Why They Should Be Abolished

In America, as I mentioned earlier, the federal government does not generate American censorship laws. This control is mandated to individual states and local governments. The legislatures make the laws, the other branches ratify them, then they are enforced by law enforcement. Now, depending on the part of the country that a person lives in, they will encounter more or less opposition to these laws.

For instance, parts of Florida, California, and Nevada are very laid back when it comes to enforcing laws of this type. The reason being is that much of the economy in these states depends on little or no enforcement of laws of this type. Florida and California have merchants that thrive off the ability for beach nudity and related events that accompany it. In Nevada, the city of Las Vegas with its casinos and adult entertainment, generates a huge amount of revenue. The revenue generated in this state and the other states just mentioned is a major proponent of abolishing many of the censorship laws that are on the books.

Now it stands to reason that all laws of this type, simply won't be abolished, simply because in every state there is a segment of the population who are opposed to any sort of change. In America, the law is based on majority rule and minority rights. As long as there is money coming into the treasuries of governments, derived from sex, nudity, or that which is classified as obscene, the local governments will turn their heads and collect the money. However, to pacify the more moral elements of the different communities, the various local governments will straddle the fence very carefully.

In Conclusion

Many segments of the population are in favor of the obscenity laws, just the way that they are. However, many feel that a reformation is long overdue. American censorship laws, diverse forms of nudity, and how everything is viewed through the public eye is a complex issue. In America, the roots were formed in Europe. Once America got on its feet, it planted its own seeds for censorship and nudity laws. After the seeds took hold and started to sprout, there was an emergence of individuals who were bent on establishing the same sort of censorship laws that they had left in Europe. Through a series of growing pains, legal battles, and the emergence of proponents for each side, the individual states set up their individual laws and enforcement degrees for their own individual interest. In essence, you might say that the bottom line of censorship laws is based on revenue.

Also, about one-fourth of the laws on the books, relating to censorship are antiquated, and would not even be laws if they were not attached to popular legislation as a rider. One might ask how this can happen; the answer is very simple. Public officials tend to look out for constituents in their particular district if they want to get reelected. With this in mind, every legislator is in the same boat and need to form alliances with other politicians. They utilize a tactic commonly called, if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours.

So if a bad or ridiculous piece of legislation comes up for a vote, prearranged deals between politicians ensure its passage, regardless of its value, oppressiveness, or inconvenience to the general public. In essence, many of the obscenity laws exist solely because politicians exchanged favors, to pacify some sexually repressed and irrational constituents.

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