We’ve all sent a cheeky nude at one point in our lives, but as it turns out, nudes and nudity have never been this simple.
The naked form is as much part of our culture, as it is part of our biology. Nudity and nudes are not just found in seedy restricted-sections and NSFW Twitter pages, but a celebrated facet of human history.
However, in this daunting new age of OnlyFans and HBO subscriptions, it’s important to look back and understand how art, science and history have shaped the way we interpret not just our own bodies, but also each others.
But first, where do we draw the line between artful nudity and bare-back pornography? The historical definition of a ‘nude’ centres upon a figure, in many cases from Western culture, that acts as a tool to show the ideals of feminine and masculine beauty.
Famous art historian, Kenneth Clarke, made the distinction that a nude is an idealised body comfortable being unclothed, while a standard naked body looks deprived of clothing and ‘exposed’.
Essentially, context is key. Nudity must embody an awareness of nakedness, and extract beauty from that awareness. Nakedness is the mirror opposite. If you’re confused, think of Adam and Eve. The infamous couple who doomed humanity were comfortable in their nudity, until Eve at the damn apple (allegedly peer-pressuring Adam in the process), and the two became uncomfortable with the knowledge of their own nakedness.
But before Adam and Eve, and even most likely before Eden, nudity was already a critically important concept in early human culture.
Original publication 19 April, 2021
Posted on NatCorn 28th April 2021
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