The nude—the unclothed or partially clothed human body—has been featured in European art for millennia. After , with the waning of the Middle Ages, artists depicted nudes as increasingly three-dimensional, vibrant, and lifelike— in short, more immediate and real. They employed diverse means: in Italy through a return to the models of ancient Greek and Roman art, and in northern Europe through refinements to the technique of painting in oils that enabled painters to capture textures—of flesh, of hair, of the sparkle in an eye—with unprecedented truth to nature. In concert with new scientific approaches, artists across Europe studied nature—including the human body—with increasing specificity and deliberation. The meaningful depiction of the human form became the highest aspiration for artists, and their efforts often resulted in figures of notable sensuality. For Christians, however—who represented most of European society at the time—the nude body could be disturbing, arousing personal desire.
10 Most Famous Ancient Roman Art Paintings
10 Most Famous Ancient Roman Art Paintings | Historyly
For the Romans it would have been BC. Right from the start, sex was linked to momentous constitutional development for the Roman state. The first instance was the BC rape of the Sabine women — a carefully executed example of nation building in which the Romans replenished their dwindling supply of fertile women by carrying off the wives and daughters of the neighbouring Sabines. Soon after, sex was implicated first in the overthrow of the tyrannical monarchy and the establishment of the republic, and then in the restoration of that republic so pivotal to Roman democracy. During the former, virtuous Lucretia [a legendary Roman matron whose fate played a key role in the transition from a Roman Kingdom into a Roman Republic] took her own life in BC after being raped by Sextus Tarquinius, son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, last king of Rome. In the latter, virginal Verginia was stabbed to death in BC by her own father to avoid the shame of violation stuprum by Appius Claudius, one of the decemviri [an official commission of 10 men]. Preservation of sexual virtue — pudicitia — cost Lucretia and Verginia their lives; so important was pudicitia to Roman values, history and society.
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Depictions of nudity include visual representations of nudity throughout history, in disciplines including the arts and sciences. Nudity is restricted in most societies , but some depictions of nudity may serve a recognized social function. Clothing also serves as a significant part of interpersonal communication , and a lack of clothing in public is expected to have a social context.
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