Its Nude – Not Rude

Black Butterfly Pair
Lesley Mackenzie, Black Butterfly Pair

The Nude in Art

The Nude has featured heavily within art over the centuries, from the Ancient Greek and Roman statues to the distorted, fleshy paintings by Jenny Saville. Despite its presence throughout history, the female nude, in particular, is still problematic.

The Sexualised Female Nude

The temporary removal and hasty return of John William Waterhouse’s mildly suggestive 1896 painting Hylas and the Nymphs sparked debates regarding whether or not galleries should censor art (and in this case the female body). This begs the question, what is wrong with a female nude? The answer is nothing! Though many presentations of the female body do aim to fit into, explore or critique these labels, not all depictions of the female form have to be sexual. At Why Not Art we believe the female nude is not so limited – it is a subject with infinite facets that can be erotic, sexual, rude and beautiful or whatever you want it to be.

Reclaiming the Female Form

Artwork containing nudity is not often present in a public setting and seems to be exclusively reserved for private living spaces but that is not necessary as not all nude is rude! To demonstrate that the female body is not ‘inappropriate’, have a look at some examples from our own wonderful artists. They encourage everyone to appreciate the female nude as a piece of art, not as a ‘naked object’.
Life Female Pair
Lesley Mackenzie, Life Female Pair, 46.4 x 39.3cm
Life 24, Female
Lesley Mackenzie, Life 24 Female, 26.3 x 36cm

Lesley Mackenzie’s Life Series

The body can be a series of shapes, shadows and tones to be admired. To draw a nude is to celebrate it as it is, not worrying at the shape, size or comparing it to our own (and societies body ‘ideals’) but viewing it as it is, natural and beautiful. These gorgeous paintings by Lesley Mackenzie are perfect examples – the quick, seemingly effortless shapes and lines of the body are delicate and tasteful against a blush of colour.  
Lesley Mackenzie_life female walking pair 1 and dancing pair 2 in Context
Lesley Mackenzie, Life Female Pair, In Context
Originally a series of life drawings, Mackenzie has returned to this collection of stunning portraits, adding to the serene curves and tones of the body. They are tasteful and each has been beautifully framed and highlighted with gold leaf, making them a perfect addition above a bookcase in a study or hallway or as a pair in a dining room or lounge.
Revekka Alexopoulou, Falling 2, Acrylic Painting
Revekka Alexopoulou, Falling 2, 60 x 120cm

Other Examples of The Female Nude

Revekka Alexopoulou’s stunning painting Falling 2 presents the female nude falling through the air against an abstract backdrop in an unusual and dramatic composition This piece is striking and tasteful. With its captivating composition and elongated orientation, this would look amazing in a hallway or playfully placed at the top or bottom of the stairs. More playful and contemporary depictions of the female form are also explored by Valerie Savchits and Chrissy Thirlaway in their paintings Lola and I THINK I’M LOSING MY HEAD. Both humorously explore art historical references and the ever-present ‘male gaze’ to present a sophisticated and amusing take on the female nude and its reputation for being a problematic subject. Both would be bold, energetic statement pieces for your home or work space exploring the subject of the female nude in an animated and engaging way.
Lola
Valerie Savchits, Lola, 150 x 100cm
Chrissy Thirlaway_I Think I'm Losing My Head
Chrissy Thirlaway, I THINK I’M LOSING MY HEAD, 30 x 30cm
More playful and contemporary depictions of the female form are also explored by Valerie Savchits and Chrissy Thirlaway in their paintings Lola and I THINK I’M LOSING MY HEAD. Both humorously explore art historical references and the ever-present ‘male gaze’ to present a sophisticated and amusing take on the female nude and its reputation for being a problematic subject. Both would be bold, energetic statement pieces for your home or work space exploring the subject of the female nude in an animated and engaging way. These are just a few examples of depictions of the female nude available at Why Not Art and we have many more available! Whichever style of painting, print or drawing you choose, the body, whatever gender it is, is nothing to be embarrassed about. It can be a classy, vibrant, stunning, edgy or sexy addition to your walls. Try it out and if you still are feeling especially Victorian about the whole stripped back subject you can always swap it and wait until you are ready to reclaim and empower – remember its nude, not rude.

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