Most popular naked art portrait

Being naked is second nature to humans as they are born naked, bathe naked, and fervently pursue bodily pleasures. Thus, it becomes perfectly natural to have the naked body prevalent in art on all its forms.

Nudity was first introduced in art in Ancient Greece where the virtues of the human body, particularly the male form, was celebrated. Athletic competitions were held in the nude and those athletes were thought to be the embodiment of the perfect human form. It is in this that athletic-looking nudes were used to represent Greek gods and goddesses.

While the male nude represents athleticism, the female nude was made to embody creation. The first recorded naked female figures were that of fertility idols. Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, is also seen in this image – seductive, life-giving, and proud. Originally, it was preferred that Aphrodite was clothed in all her representations, until the Aphrodite of Knidos came to be – where the goddess is portrayed standing from a bath with her hand covering her privates. The positioning of her hands was debated to either mean modesty or to prevent human viewers from seeing her full godliness.

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From then on, interest in the naked female form further inflamed. Artists represented Venus in various scenarios but primarily maintains the themes of earthiness and sensuality. Here are some of the best-known artworks with the goddess of love in its center:

Birth of Venus, Botticelli, 1943

Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is perhaps one of the most treasured and somewhat controversial artwork of the Renaissance.

In it Venus was depicted as emerging naked on a shell pushed to shore with the help of Zephyr, god of the West Wind. As she was about to step onto the shore, one of the Horae, goddesses of seasons, reaches out to cover her with a cloak. Botticelli’s Venus modestly stands atop the shell with her hand over her private parts – a pose derived from the classic theme of Venus Pudica.

Birth of Venus is one of the first pieces to depict a naked Venus and was considered controversial for Christianity was the main theme of Renaissance art in that period.

Sleeping Venus, Giorgione, 1510

Also called Dresden Venus, Giorgione’s painting depicts the image of a reclined, sleeping nude woman with nature in her backdrop. The lines of her body mirror the beauty of the hills that surround her.

The Sleeping Venus represents the Venus who sleeps and dreams of love. Although the concept was eroticized by some due to her raised arm and the placement of her left hand, the Sleeping Venus symbolizes the recollection of love and not the act of it.

Giorgione’s Venus ignited the beginning of the trend of reclining nudes in the Renaissance.

Venus Urbino, Titian, 1538

Giorgione’s Sleeping Venus was Titian’s basis for Venus Urbino, a painting commissioned by Guidobaldo II Della Rovere, the Duke of Urbino as a present to his young wife. The painting, with the various images in it, represent the many facets of marriage – sensuality and fidelity in matrimony and also motherhood.

Sensuality is clearly portrayed by the image of a reclining Venus seductively staring at her viewer at the center of the painting. This serves as a reminder of the young wife’s marital obligations to her husband.

The dog near the woman’s feet represents loyalty and the woman talking to a child while she rummages her things represent motherhood. It was intended to be an educational model for the Duke’s expectations to his extremely young wife.

Rokeby Venus, Diego Velasquez, 1651

Named after Rokeby Park, home of its 19th century owner John Morritt, the Rokeby Venus is a masterpiece by Diego Velasquez, the leading figure in Spanish Baroque art. Since Spain is predominantly Catholic and determined to combat the spread of Protestantism, most of the artwork are religious in natures and nudes are strictly discouraged. Female nudes are only allowed when commissioned by royalty or other influential nobles.

Velasquez’ Venus depicts the goddess of love reclined in bed while looking into a mirror held by cupid. It follows two of the trending themes of reclining Venus or Venus and Cupid which are predominant at that time.

Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time, Agnolo Bronzino, 1568

The painting was commissioned by Cosime de Medici, duke of Florence and gifted to King Francis I of France. In the painting, both Venus and Cupid, easily recognizable by their virtues, are naked and locked in a serpent-like embrace. Cupid is seen as fondling his mother’s breasts and kissing her lips. They’re surrounded by other figures that are thought to represent the different sides of love. On the one hand, pleasure and play and in another jealousy, fraud and other passions of love. It is probably one of the most scholarly debated artworks and continues to be so.

Man’s fascination with the female nude will continue. Artists, with their insatiable need for express will depict modern day Venuses reflecting this age’s emerging technologies. The artistic platforms may differ but the attraction remains.

MODERN DAY STREET ART

The history of art began when primitive man first drew crude pictures on his cave wall. There were mature sex pictures everywhere and this is long before the awesome free mature tube. From those humble beginnings, art has evolved in the millennia since. From simple prehistoric paintings, it has given way to a myriad of eclectic styles, transcending and ascending, though perhaps attaining heights too far up for the common man to reach. That is, until the common man decided to make crude drawings on public walls. Bringing art back to the masses by bringing it back full circle, modern day street art is both an act of revolution and the next step in creative evolution.

Modern day street art breaks the rules of what most people perceive art to be, which is quite appropriate considering its origins can be traced to a criminal act. Graffiti had been ever present on the sides of buildings and boxcars in the United States since the early 20th century, particularly the 1920’s and ‘30’s. From street gangs marking their territory to social activists making their statement, it was the medium through which the voiceless voiced out their passions and pain. It was vandalism. It was a crime. But it would seem these early pieces of street art were illegal only by virtue of their artists’ choice of canvas. Otherwise, their impulses were not so different from those that drove the so-called legitimate artists.

One of the earliest icons of modern day street art was a bald-headed long-nosed man named Kilroy. During World War II, this cartoonish figure of a man peering over a wall, accompanied by the words “Kilroy was Here,” was seen left in various places where United States servicemen had been stationed. It was an image shrouded in enigma. Who was Kilroy? What did these drawings mean? They were doodles on walls, but they made one think, as any good work of art would.

But the true subculture of modern day street art began its formation during the 1960’s and ‘70’s – with New York City becoming the central hub of the so-called graffiti boom in America. It was a time of growing social and cultural awareness among the youth, and graffiti was the means with which they would express their angst and aspirations. The artists were getting bolder. In contrast to the nameless vandals of the past, these young upstarts left their tags, their signatures, onto their works. The eccentrically named likes of TAKI 183 and Tracy 168 became the streetwise da Vincis and Michelangelos of this new age.

As the graffiti movement grew, so did the art styles, from hastily sprayed markings to more intricate and elaborate murals adorning city walls and subway trains. One of the best-known examples of modern day street art is the Bowery Mural in Manhattan. Once a dilapidated wall until artist and activist Keith Haring made it his personal creative space in 1982, it would go on to become a haven for renowned street artists since then. In 2008, the wall was acquired privately and has since become an outdoor exhibition space available to artists on a commission or invitational basis only.

It has gotten to the point where modern street art has gained widespread appreciation and acceptance. While vandalism remains a crime, graffiti itself isn’t necessarily so, and has come to be recognized as a legitimate art form. Street artists would need not paint while looking over their shoulders for the authorities anymore, and sanctioned graffiti art would begin appearing in the mainstream. Spreading throughout the rest of the world, even the bastions of high-art in Europe have come to embrace this mode of urban low-art, with graffiti street art tours being conducted in cities such as Paris, London, Berlin, Hamburg and others.

But beyond spray-painted graffiti, modern day street art would take on other forms as well. Stencil Graffiti, for instance, is a variation that allows an artist to reproduce complex pieces at a quick rate. Other artists would use Wheatpasted Poster or Sticker Art as their medium. And then there is Street Instillation, which actually involves setting up a three-dimensional work of art in an urban environment.

Like beauty, art is in the eye of the beholder, to be beheld even in the unlikeliest of venues. Truly, one cannot judge a painting by its canvas, whether it is on display in a prestigious museum or spray-painted on the side of a building. Art is no longer reserved for the elite alone. Modern day street art is Prometheus defying the gods to bring artistic fire back to mortal men.