Depictions of nude women throughout human history             -dustin power

In this gallery we will explore how artists throughout history depicted the nude female figure. I believe this will shed some light on views towards women and sexuality at different periods of time. We will see the contrast of the ideal beauty of cultures and how that differs from todays society.

Carved out of bone, this statue depicts a woman who lived over 5,000 years ago. The statues posture seems to show a sense of fear. She is very skinny and looks very frail, possibly representing a woman or women in the artists society. The artist used texture to show hair on the woman's head and pubic area. The artist also uses blue rocks for eyes, possibly showing the real color of the woman's eyes. This is interesting because blue eyes had only evolved 2-10 thousand years before hand.
This bronze statue of an Egyptian Princess depicts a mother breast-feeding her newborn child. Her stance and posture shows that she is a woman of strength, even while just having a child. She is unnaturally skinny, possibly showing the ideal beauty of the time. The artist predominantly uses lines to show texture in the face and in the hair.
Carved out of ivory then painted with pigments, this artwork shows another ancient Egyptian woman. Here we can see again how she is very skinny, with a serious face and royal features. Color is heavily used to show her godlike or royal appearance. Her docile pose shows youth, or a feeling of gentleness.
Unearthed in Taxila, Pakistan, this figure shows a curvy and youthful woman from the 1st century A.D. This is much different from the previous pieces because of the more realistic representation of a woman. Her hips are much larger than her waist, and her arms are not very skinny. The artist uses symmetry on the sculpture, almost mirroring from one side to the other.
This Ancient Greek pottery depicts a nude woman in a bathroom. It was relatively uncommon for women of the time to be shown as nude on pottery. Historians believe this particular woman is nude to show that she was a prostitute. This is one of the first documented times that female nudity was used to show who she was as a person instead of just showing her beauty. The artists used a white pigment on her skin instead of leaving her the natural brown color to show emphasis on her skin tone.
This small sculpture of Aphrodite shows the goddess leaning against a pillar, partly clothed. The artist chose to not fully reveal her body to remove the feeling of sexuality and instead show a sensual nature. This reveals her to look more gentle and caring. The artist used complex texture in the clay to give the appearance that she is wearing a cloth around her waist.
This painting of the goddess Venus by Hans Baldung Grien depicts the goddess of love posing nude but in a very natural and non-sexual stance. Many religious people of the time saw this as a representation of spiritual love conquer lust and sexual desire. The artist uses shading and texture to show dimension on her body and sheet.
This charcoal drawing by Max Klinger shows a woman in a slightly seductive yet reserved pose. She is wearing makeup on her cheeks to show emphasis on her femininity. Her large breasts and skinny torso are not far from what is considered desirable in todays culture. The artist uses white highlights to show reflection and depth in order to give a three dimensional view.
This oil paining by Takeji Fujishima, aka “the nude artist Terauchi,” shows a hunched over woman in a very antisexual way. The woman looks as though something horrible has happened to her. This is a very interesting twist on the a nude painting because the majority of them try to show beauty and sexuality. Takeji Fujishima uses shading to show depth on her stomach rolls and hunched posture.
In this graffiti style art, Lean Frizzera shows a very sexualized nude woman with makeup and very expressive hair. Many of our societies ideals of a beautiful woman are reflected in the painting. One can see the major contrast between ancient cultures depictions of woman to ours. The greeks gave reserved posture and elegance to prostitutes, while a bent over woman covered in makeup and piercings is considered by many to be an ideal woman. The artist uses vibrant and bright colors to draw attention to the hair and skin of the woman.
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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