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Old 02-19-2005, 01:24 AM   #1
William Whitaker William Whitaker is offline
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The nude in painting




With the flowering of the Renaissance, artists were inspired to master their comprehension of the visual world. Artists perceived a need to understand the visual mechanics of the human form. Given the voluminous form-hiding clothing of the time, serious artists realized they'd have to get folks to doff their dresses to see how the legs, pelvis and arms would work. Well, until the beginning of the 19th century, people didn't wear underwear. Take off their dress or pants, and you had a nude!

Now I hate to disappoint anybody, but we don't really need that anymore in education. Jeans are tight, arms are bare, and female swimsuits often consist of a few patches the size of sticky notes. Everybody knows how the legs and pelvis works, etc. Today one goes in a life class and is confronted with the nude and really doesn't know what to do with it. The irony is that contemporary art education is left with the tradition (the nude) but has lost the knowledge of using light properly that actually justifies our studying from the nude.

That said, I believe the most important thing about painting nudes is that it teaches the painter how to see skin. In this case, learning the figure from photos simply won't do. One has to paint from life to see how skin glows. Whenever I have a chance, I paint as much skin as possible and even when I paint just a head, I'm sobered and humbled by the fact that it is bare glowing skin and I try and treat it with a lot of reverence and respect.

Finally, a naked human being sends a powerful message, good or bad, beautiful or ugly. It seems that nobody is blas
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Old 02-19-2005, 06:05 AM   #2
Claudemir Bonfim Claudemir Bonfim is offline
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Thanks for that Sir!
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