Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Recent Nudes

I don't know much about the artist, Eoin de Leastar. He is an Irish artist, whose work is very much to my liking. I went to his website, and perused. There my knowledge of him ends. He is important to me because when I was doing research for this blog I found a quote that defined for me the purpose of nudes in art. Leastar's quote: "Beauty is form contemplated without desire."

I went to my usual sources for information, but didn't come up with much on the topic of nudity in art. This really surprised me. Maybe I just had researcher's block. Anyway, nudity in art has always been much more acceptable because of this premise that artists study the human form and portray it in many different ways, but the study of the
body, is often most revealing in a literal way of course, but also in a metaphorical sense, through the lack of clothing. These three female figures I share now, not all entirely "nude," portray three very different looks at the human condition.

Now, I can only imagine that some of the great masters who had naked women and men posing for them for hours, may have indulged in prurient thoughts, or they may not have. When is a nude a subject of pornography and when is it art? I think Leastar's quote does a great job of answering that question.

In my opinion, only the beholder can say. Nevertheless, from time to time the public gets in an uproar about some artist's work, who people feel may have crossed the line, and so we have a Maplethorpe who gets instant notoriety. I do think photography as a medium is much more difficult to manipulate toward the purity of the form and distance from the prurient because of its nature.

The topic is on my mind, because some amazing female figures have come to our attention and have been placed for sale on our website. On the top left is "Katherine," by Ildikó Kalapács. In this painting I interpret the body language as one of highly charged emotional angst with submission not used as acceptance, but as a way to manipulate power. I'm not sure if that was Ildikó's intention, but it is undeniable to me.

On the middle right in "Shy Girl" we see a classic modest nude in the fashion of some of the Greek classics, by Rute Santos, and below, the work titled "High Heels" by Canadian artist Pavel Ruhrek. Most people might argue this is not a nude, but in addition to its commentary on current cultural trends evolving through fashion, I think the hint of the human form does indeed qualify it for Leastar's definition, "contemplation without desire." I share these wonderful artworks with you now.--Ruth Mitchell

"High Heels" - Pavel Rehurek

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