Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The nude in art (and it`s censorship)

It has been a consistent theme and subject throughout the history of fine art. Be it religious art or portraiture, the naked human form has always fascinated mankind, and been one of the enduring subjects of art. Many of the masterpieces of fine art have featured the nude – and many were facing numerous attempts of censorship.

Consider Michelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel – The Last judgement, the Christian history of the world. Pushed by the pope in his young age he created a most controversial work to date and was as much condemned (for its nudity) as it was praised (for its artistry). After the death of Michelangelo, the fresco was nearly destroyed, but the Church authorities settled for Daniele da Volterra painting draperies over the offending nudity.


Another case is Gustave Courbet. On January 1864 he embarked on a large-scale figure painting destined for the upcoming Salon. Writing to the dealer J. Luquet, he described the work as „two nude woman, life size, and painted in a manner that you have never seen me do.“ In later letters he suggested that he might call it Venus in Jealous Pursuit of Psyche. But in April, when he submitted it to the Salon, he gave it the neutral title Etude de femmes, or study of Women, which allowed for a maximum freedom of interpretation. The painting, which has since disappeared, was after some apparent disagreement between the jury and the Count de Nieuwerkerke, superintendent of the Fine Arts Administration, barren from the Salon for reasons of immorality.

Today we witness quite the same attitude towards works of art featuring nudity as before. A few days ago a midnight marauder had censored the sculptures scattered through Oslo's Vigeland Sculpture Park. With the exception of one lone figure, every scrap of nipple, crotch or posterior was covered with black strips of paper, no matter the size nor position of the statue.

The unknown assailant left an explanatory note behind: "There is too much nudity in newspapers and magazines, so here on the bridge the limit has been reached!"


2 comments:

Ganggu said...

hi, i'm ganggu.
your flickr page has not found.
thank you yesterday. it was very nice.
i want to see your picture.
and the picture that i took yesterday has not been downloaded yet.
i will send you soon.

buy cialis said...

those guy from the censorship bureau are only a bunch of moralist racist, art is just that : ART.