The Art of the Nude
If you are going to sketch, draw, paint, or sculpt, what better thing to use as your subject than the form of a female, the pinnacle of beauty in all of God’s creation. Men and women have been trying to capture in art the sublime beauty of women ever since creation and many have done a marvelous job.
Michelangelo with his paintings, Ruben with his sculpture, and numerous artists and photographers in more recent history have all added to the repertoire, with varying degrees of success. As you examine the history of art you are able to see just what was thought “beautiful” in each age. And each artist captures their own vision of the essence of that which we call “woman”, communicating it to us. Most try to depict more than the mere form; many make a valiant effort to also celebrate her vibrancy, softness, joy, and even sexuality.
Christians and Nude Art
It has been questioned whether portraying the female nude in artistic medium is appropriate behavior for Christians. I think that the conservative Gordon College answered that question best in a statement explaining why they used live nude models in their art classes.
“We have chosen in the Art Department at Gordon College to work respectfully with the human figure attempting to bring honor and glory to God in the process. We base this, in a Christian context, on a time-honored professional practice, holding the belief that the human form is the crowning achievement of God in Creation - worthy of our expert knowledge, and analogous to the scientific knowledge of the human body in medicine and biology. In our tradition as artists, it is seen as the linchpin of our practice of visual knowledge. If you can accurately and expressively draw, paint or sculpt the human form, you can draw anything.”
“In our teaching, the nude has much more in common with medical knowledge than with popular sexualization of images in advertising and movies. The context of the encounter determines the meaning of the unclothed form. An operating theater in a hospital has a drastically different meaning from that of a strip joint. An art studio with students or artists surrounding a model is akin to the operating theater. Knowledge is being gained and a professional activity is being practiced.”
I invite you to read the full text of their statement at Gordon College Art Policy on Nude Models.
Feedback welcomed and appreciated.
Christians, Nudity and Erotica
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.