It is not by chance then that we perceive our goods anthropomorphically, or that the detached, austere, vengeful Apollo and the terrible tragic splendor of Christ Crucified both find their mode of expression in the nude form. The nude has the ability to bring out both the proximity and severe truth that depict man as he really is. Therefore, as in tragedy, this essential aspect of being human makes a person essentially divine, the type of spectacular blend of flesh and blood that led to the emergence of the Palatine Anthology anecdote about Praxiteles' Aphrodite, Aphrodite said, Where did Praxiteles see me naked.
The seeming truth of the nude is supported by the knowledge that human physical beauty is transitory and not permanent. Clark observes that the Greeks were of the opinion that the human figure in its prime is the highest subject of art, but not, one suspects, from the unbalanced optimism about the powers of man for which they are often given credit, but from a sense of the tragedy of the mortal before the immortal and of the fleetingness of youth and happiness. If Clark's perceptions and suggestions into the philosophy of the nude are the most thought-provoking part of the book to the general reader, then the range of Clark's scrutiny stands out as overwhelming, as well as the agreeable mixture of scholarship and iconoclasm in the tone he uses. Clark writes with a simple eloquence that does no bring out the labor of the file that must lurk in his judiciously created phrases and comparisons. It is arguable that his eloquence may have the unfortunate effect of leading one to think that Clark in his book communicates more than it does; to explain the Greeks, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Renoir, Picasso forces a certain glibness, even what appears to be a relatively limited facet of art history. However, if Clark would broaden the context of his criticism possibly in an ambitious manner, on the surface and to the nonprofessional, the result would possibly entirely be exultant.
The issues that Clark raises are the most essential parts of his essay. One of the most discussion-worthy issues he brings to the fore is the changes in standards of beauty over time that he gives an account of. The carefully worked out and detached nude of the classical Greece deteriorates with change in attitude toward the flesh, into the bulbous and austere shapes of medieval art. Clark observes, The very degradation the body has suffered as a result of Christian morality served to sharpen its erotic impact. The formula of the classical ideal had been more protective than any drapery; whereas the shape of the Gothic body, which suggested that it was normally clothed, gave it the impropriety of a secret. However, Clark further asserts that a rebirth of interest in the human form as a subject of art in the Renaissance, although with a different view of man implicit in every muscle, for the Renaissance--especially the Michelangelo--nude was burdened with a soul.
The problems that Clark defines give the impression to be the key aspects to any study of aesthetics or culture, and his often relatively modest conclusions, offer material for discussion, though not to be considered without careful examination. Clarks work can be considered to be a classic. The content he discusses rewards richly and is provocative by illuminating and making clear a share of the world too rarely looked at with the full radiance of intelligence and that is critical to an understanding of what makes human beings in physical terms, an appreciation which seems to be detached from human beings, and yet Clark's words turn out to be true.J, Jones. (2012, November 28). Naked or nude? Laying bare an artistic divide | The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/nov/28/naked-nude-art-divideThe comedy show Seinfeld once had a storyline in which the main characters (Jerry Seinfeld's) girlfriend went on nonchalantly walking around his apartment naked. Seinfeld was a bit disconcerted to find out that he found this a lot less erotic than he had anticipated. While at a coffee shop, he contemplated the aesthetics. Subsequently, Seinfeld concluded that There's good naked and bad naked. The same issue has been under contemplation by many critics in art and media too. In the language of art, "good naked" is represented by the word "nude", while if you say "naked", you mean to say "bad naked". The nude is posed, perfect, idealized; while on the other hand, the naked is just somebody with no clothes on.
Jones states that the naked is Lucian Freud standing unclothed gesticulating about with his palette knife. Jones further describes a gathering of models wearing nothing but boots in a photograph by Vanessa Beecroft as more depiction of naked. Art historian Frances Borzellos book called The Naked Nude contains these and many more contemporary images of the body that feature in an unrestrainedly illustrated depiction. The title of the book is a play on the old antithesis that can be traced back in aesthetic discussions to the 17th and 18th centuries and made popular in the 20th century by the critic Kenneth Clark between naked and nude or, as Seinfeld perceives it, bad naked and good naked. According to Jones, Borzello is of the opinion that in modern-day art, the old pristine quality of the image of the nude human body has been sidelined by raw and dangerous images of the body. According to Jones, the insipid perfection of the classical Apollo Belvedere in the Vatican has been undermined by risky artists of today such as Jenny Saville and, Ron Mueck.
Jones considers Borzello's book as an attractive Christmas gift for lovers of art and nakedness, however, he makes an example of it. Jones believes that Borzellos's book typifies what has become a culture of routinely predictable attributes of today's art coffee-table books. Jones criticizes Borzellos work for cramming a lot of contemporary nude art. Jones believes that such actions do not help in portraying a true depiction of nude art but rather symbolizes a rush to pass off nakedness as art. Jones is of the opinion that many artists use nude art in an uncritical way that disservices it by refusing to distinguish bad from good, better from best. Jones believes that these pieces of art are similar to books in previous generations that may have bored readers by elevating all the old art in museums in the same reverent way.
Jones observes that Borzello in what he considers to be typical behavior among many modern artists and art writers take for granted the past that has led to modern-day art as opposed to proving it right. Borzello states The representation of the nude in art is a victory of fiction over fact. Its great success has been to distance the unclothed body from any uncomfortably explicit taint of sexuality, eroticism or imperfection. However, Jones disagrees completely and describes this as a student-level art history cliche. Jones believes that the true depiction is way more complicated than what Borzello believes. Jones poses the question whether Titian's Diana and Actaeon found in the National Gallery painted in the 16th century and clearly a summit of nudity/nakedness in western art a work that detaches the unclothed body from sexuality and eroticism. In addition, Jones adds that the Rokeby Venus by Velazquez, painted in the 17th century, which is another...
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