Nude models allow artists to practice purely
April 3, 2008
The human body, with all its curves, tints and follicles, consists of differences between persons, demographics and histories.
The nude is presented to some as an art form of shapes and lines. To others, nudes are unwillingly demonstrating a method of humiliation. Surprisingly, I found that many people find nudity comparable to pornography.
To most art students, the nude model becomes only angles, spheres and triangles floating in the air. Once these lines and shapes come together they form something similar to what some people refer to as “miracle.”
This beautiful structure that makes a human a human still has its uniqueness. What is the same still has the ability to prove its originality through lifestyles. An athlete will have defined muscles and vegetarians may be thinner than others.
For those who say they could never model nude, draw a person nude or be nude in public, I ask why. Is the body something to feel humiliated about? If so, then the lifestyle led is not the right one if the individual is unhappy with the shell of their soul.
It is insulting to fine art nude models, the students and to all humans to label such as humiliating, or worse, pornographic. The career of a nude model is far less humiliating than say, flipping burgers at McDonald’s.
Pornography, the most erotic and obscene of art, has been in existence longer than the actual word. “Porne” is Greek for “whore” and “graphos” is Greek for “written.” Etymologically, the term “pornography” refers to writing or written work about prostitutes (whores) and their customers.
Obviously, this word has broadened in its usage as well as its definition. Today, pornography is viewed as revolting and lewd, not art at all.
Yes, most pornography is distasteful and usually fails to represent an inner beauty of the body or an outer beauty of the human race.
If done in a respectable, more tasteful manner, then pornography has the ability to become art. Generally, the purpose of pornography differs greatly in the purpose of fine nude art. For pornography, sexual arousal is expected, but not in nude art.
For nude art, the model can sometimes be the object. “The bowl of fruit” is a common phrase for a still life subject of art. Even though the model is being watched and is mostly inert, this does not mean he or she is passive.
For artists, reproducing the image in front of them allows for them to only think in shapes, contours and proportions. In this sense, the purpose is to practice technical drawing and is much more of a learning experience for art rather than being art itself.
It does not matter whether the object is an apple or a pear, what does matter is the way the artists perceive and represent the object/subject.
Other times, the model can be much more than an object or not an object at all. With movements and poses, a personality may shine through the outer part of the person.
A good artist will find this light and portray it in his or her own personal, creative way as if the model were actually the source of inspiration.
Teresa is a journalism major and a geography minor in her senior year. She enjoys kangaroo burgers and creating pretty maps.
Teresa Aviles is a student at UW-River Falls.