The Nude - A Critical History Analytical Essay by Nicky

The Nude - A Critical History
A discussion about the nude in Western art.
# 148920 | 1,242 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Nov 14, 2011 in Art (History) , Art (Painting)

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This paper explores various depictions of the nude in Western art from the Renaissance through contemporary times. First, the paper discusses Michelangelo, who is considered the first artist to have understood the importance of the human body in its representation as a nude in art. This is contrasted with a modern nude in a stamp series by James Cauty. The paper then explains how different audiences at different points in time would understand these works. Additionally, the paper addresses another modern nude, and concludes by stating that the Sistine Chapel put the nude, and the human body, in a central place in art.

From the Paper:

"The sixteenth century was the era of awakening on many levels in the history of humanity. The Renaissance period swept the world with new ideas revived from the old classics, inventions and innovations that will for ever change the face of the world and put it on a new course. The middle Ages taught human beings to be humble and repent in order to have a chance at the Judgment Day. Renaissance brought new ideas and forms of expression to life and changed the way people envisioned themselves and their place in the order of things. It gave humanity a central place in the universe instead of leaving it as a complementary form of existence. The human body in its necked form was beginning to represent the focus of the artistic expression in its struggle to find the best representation and the means to bring the artistic creation to the public. Bernard Berenson points out that the nudes in Michelangelo's art works, especially in his paintings of the Sistine Chapel summarize "manliness, robustness, effectiveness, the fulfillment of our dream of a great soul inhabiting a great body" (Berenson, 169). He continues remarking that "Michelangelo completed what Masaccio had begun, the creation of the type of man best fitted to subdue and control the earth, and, who knows!"

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Seymour, Charles. Michelangelo: The Sistine Chapel Ceiling : Illustrations, Introductory Essay, Backgrounds and Sources, Critical Essays. W. W. Norton & Company, 1995
  • Mickey Mouse and Disney Land. Retrieved: 27 May, 2009. Available at:
  • Over&Out. Collapse and Closure. The Cautese National Stamp Reserve. Available at:

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