Representation of Female Nudity
In the western world, figures of art that have no clothes are a common occurrence regardless of the time of art. In fact, the representation of female nudity has evolved over time from antiquity to the present modern art. While nudity may appear as a common and normal situation owing to the frequency of the state of undress among humans, its representation in art is not as simple. Particularly, the representation of female nudity is most common owing to an inter-mix of cultural traditions, formal ideals and philosophical concerns. The representation of female nudity therefore has little to do with the humble situations of birth and privacy as depicted in normal life. Female nudity is of particular significance as an artistic innovation of the Renaissance as well as in subsequent academic traditions.
While male nudity was used in art in relation to the athletic stature of the Greeks, female nudity embodies the divinity of procreation. Early prehistoric forms of art articulate this fact through their representation of fertility deities. For instance, Apollo and Daphne represents such form of female nudity where the latter transforms into a tree upon being hunted by Apollo. The art work was done by Jakob Auer (1645 – 1706) and is a perfect example of Greek mythology. The piece of art portrays Daphne in her nudity thus exploring the impression of female nudity in antique Greek art. Still, Danae is another example of antique art that was developed by Rembrandt in 1636 showing female nudity with the picture of a woman lying in bed uncovered. The representation of female nudity during this time was structured to show the divinity of procreation and in depicting goddesses as life giving and seductive people.
However, the depiction of female nudity to portray the divinity of procreation changed with the emergence of new trends of portraying goddesses as powerful beings. Here, the goddess Aphrodite takes center stage as represented by the sculptor Praxiteles as a naked Knidian. The representation of the nude Aphrodite marked a new tradition for female nudity in Greek art. As the changes took place, the new Knidian art had idealized proportions that were derived through mathematical ratios and were similar to those used in male nudes. Moreover, the art represented the goddess as having her head turned to one side with her hands covering her private parts thus evoking erotic possibilities in the artwork. In turn, the new manifestation was geared towards the exoneration of the female nude as being modest by having a desire to shield the view of the public from the exposed godhead. The new representation gained ground and is credited with the proliferation in nude art to meet the demands of bath buildings and tombs in Greece.
The transformation of Greek nudes in subsequent Western art became normative to represent a new ideology. Indeed, modern nude art reveals a profound admiration of the body as one that depicts the shape of humanity. Today, most of the art that represent females in their nudity are structured to show sex appeal and seduction. For instance, the standing woman as crafted by Gaston Lachaise in 1932 depicts a seductive figure of a nude female. The new representation is aimed at increasing the admiration of the human body through depictions of curvaceous bodies of women. Moreover, the arts representing female nudity are largely inclined towards seductive tendencies in modern art.
Evolution of the Role of the Artist
There is no doubt that the role of the artist has evolved over time to reflect the different times in the history of the world. In this regard, art from a different time in history can significantly provide insights into the cultural, social and political perspectives of the people. Most importantly, art may tell a story about the artist and the culture that surrounds these artists. While some art may feel like the basic realm of humanity, other forms of art may represent pure aesthetic and indulgence. The representation of different arts across different times in history provides a deeper understanding of the role of the artist through the themes incorporated. Indeed, art is capable of portraying the rich beauty of the natural world while depicting the ugliness of the same world in other forms. These differences in representations of art provide controversy regarding the particular role of artists in different tomes in history. The role of the artist is therefore not a universal concept but one that is dynamic and different across different times.
Art has different purposes over history and the role of the artist has changed significantly over the history of art. From ancient times when pieces of art were displayed against cave walls in depicting primitive humans and animals, the role of the artist has evolved with the evolution of art. During this period of time, the role of the artist was confined to the description of life and the illumination of different aspects of life. In particular, artists used their skills in showing things to others and especially things that would have otherwise been missed. One of these artists is Albrecht Durer who is famous for his Young Hare art of 1505. This form of art included the representation of technical accuracy and fine detail up until the Cubism movement came into play in later years. The roles of the artist in the ancient world were based on their occupation as laborers and were consequently labeled as artisans. Some of these artists included sculptors, craftsmen and painters and would acquire their trade through apprenticeship or inheritance from their fathers.
The Renaissance period marked the increased recognition of artists and their role in the society. In fact, this period of time marked the end of anonymous work and the entry of respect of artists. The role of the artist evolved out of the evolution of art as a luxury and indulgence. Artists of this time strived to inculcate complex themes into their work including the use of astrological concepts and scientific theories. For instance, Sandro Botticelli is famous for the painting of the Primavera dating back to the 1400s. In this time, the role of the artist included the expression of emotional, political and intellectual aspects of the society. Later, the baroque period marked the shift of the role of the artist into one of giving the country a sense of persona. For instance, the role of the artist included defining what people would wear and how they behaved in their daily lives. Consequently, the role of the artist was to add beauty to the subject of different paintings thus making the pieces more beautiful attractive and thinner. Ideally, therefore, the artists helped in shaping the society into a more appealing ideology.
Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque Periods
The art of painting has undergone immense developments within different times in history. Indeed, the Renaissance period is quite different from the Mannerism period as well as the baroque period in terms of paintings. The differences in these timeframes stem from unique religious and cultural contexts including Christianity. Today, secularism has continued to influence the development of art with major themes stemming from this cultural perspective. Consequently, painting has undergone transformation resulting in developments in representation and style during the three periods of Renaissance, Mannerism and Baroque. The period of Renaissance followed the middle Ages and referred to a new interest in the Classical work of Greeks and Romans. Indeed, the developments of paintings during the Renaissance were motivated by Greek mythology and culture. Similarly, Mannerism and baroque paintings were motivated by a myriad of cultural factors.
The Renaissance period is marked by an inclination towards the art of Greece and Rome. Consequently, the reliance on Greek culture in art resulted in numerous changes in the subject and technicality of paintings and sculptures. The Renaissance period particularly started in Italy because of its rich heritage in Roman works coupled with the material prosperity of the country to fund artists. In this time of Renaissance, painters increased their enhancement of the realism of their work through the incorporation of newer techniques. In fact, the incorporation of these new techniques facilitated the authentic representation of paintings in three dimensions. The manipulation of light and darkness also witnessed new techniques to reveal such techniques as tone contrast. For instance, Leonardo da Vinci used these techniques in the development of sfumato as a new technique in painting. The technique was used in the famous painting of Mona Lisa (1452-1512). The developments in The Renaissance period were based on the secular culture that dominated Europe during the time as well as the incorporation of Christian themes.
The emergence of the Mannerism art spawned from Renaissance Classicism in European art. The concept of mannerism in art painting was a reaction in opposition of the Classism and its idealist perfection tendencies. Artists in the period of Mannerism used light distortion in their paintings to emphasize emotional contents of different paintings. In addition, the artists used distortions in spatial frameworks in depicting the emotions of the painter thus making the period quite unique in its representation of paintings. Perhaps the most prominent artist of the Mannerism period is El Greco who is famed for his work The Disrobing of Christ (1577 – 1579). Christianity had a huge influence in the development of Mannerism paintings including the cultural perspectives of the religion. In addition, the cultural aspects of Greece and Rome had particular impacts on the presentation of Mannerism art.
Lastly, the emergence of the Baroque form of painting was also based on modifications of the Renaissance period. This form of art emphasized drama, movement and detail in the definition of beauty in art. Most of the paintings were inclined towards the secular genres and included landscape paintings as well as paintings of still life. Perhaps the dramatic movement of light in Baroque art is characteristic of its development from the division sin the Catholic Church during the time. An example of a Baroque artist is the French painter Nicolas Pousin (1594-1665) whose self portrait in 1650 gained international fame.
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