The nudist colony has a long and illustrious history.
The earliest female nude sculpture, which dates back to around 28,000–25,000 BCE, also happens to be the first recorded sculpture in history. It is believed that this voluptuous little lady, known as the ‘Venus of Willendorf,’ is a fertility deity, in the same way, that other female nudes of the period, and notably those of ancient Greece, were. Aphrodite and other fertility gods, such as Aphrodite, were carved by the Greeks in idealized and faultless forms. In conclusion, many unwarranted expectations were placed on the shoulders of women throughout this period.
The first recorded instance of a male nude came in ancient Greece, at a time when sportsmen enjoyed a high social status and were even regarded as gods in their own right. Due to the fact that male athletes competed in their underwear, the Greeks grew to equate the naked body with ideals of success and glory. This may be seen in the sculptures of the time, with the discus thrower, ‘Discobolos,’ perhaps the most well-known of which is the discus thrower.
I’m not sure when things started to shift.
Following the emergence of Christianity, there was a resurgence of interest in the nude. This time is commonly referred to as the Renaissance, and it was characterized by the resurgence of the cultures of Greece and Rome. From that moment on, the nude was back and would be here for a long time.
With the male nude, Michelangelo’s ‘David’ followed the Greek theme of bodily perfection while also developing an interest in human anatomy; this is the greatest illustration of both themes. However, because women were basically banned from making art during this time period, the male nude was eclipsed by the female, which explains the considerable paucity of male nude artwork from this point on.
As the male nude began to drift into the background, the female nude began to take over as the dominant figure in contemporary art. The female nude was first shown in the Renaissance with an emphasis on sensuality rather than perfection, and this trend continued into the modern-day. This specific concept permeated many aspects of artistic production, but it was particularly prevalent in the late nineteenth century. The nudist was no longer seen to be a figure exclusive to Greek mythology or ancient legends in current life.
The shift from generating alluring male nudes to creating seductive female nudes ushered in the concept of the male gaze,’ which refers to the notion that female nudes are manufactured by men for the delight of males. The paintings ‘Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe’ by Edouard Manet and ‘Woman with a Parrot’ by Gustave Courbet are two of the most well-known examples of this style. Both of these pieces of artwork depict very provocative female nudes who are believed to be sex workers.
Today is the day of the naked.
The trend to sexualize female nudes while almost disregarding the male nude persisted until the twentieth century, as seen by artworks made by Picasso and sculptor Auguste Rodin; but, by the late nineteenth century, things had begun to shift.
In 1970, painter Lucian Freud took a fresh approach to the nude, eschewing ideals of idealization and sexualization in favor of depicting the male and female bodies in their natural condition rather than through the lens of sexualization. Artists from all around the world, including Jenny Saville, a British painter, were influenced by this method.
Artists working today have contributed to the desexualization of the female nude and have worked to reinsert the male nude into the canon of art history. The removal of the male gaze opens the door to discussions and critiques of artists who picture women who embody unattainable beauty ideals in their paintings.