Nude Modeling (yes, again)

Some of the greatest nude paintings we have are nudes, and most of the greatest nude paintings we have, such as Degas, Renoirs, and Paul Gauguins, had real models. They have a more lifelike power to them, a natural beauty that simply can’t come from the imaginings of an artist’s head. Even nudes where the beauty arguably comes from the airy lack of adherence to anatomy and physics had models. Take Bottecilli’s Venus for example. After all, the most beautiful liberties from anatomy don’t come from an ignorance of it but from and understanding. In order to break best break the rules, one must have the rules beside you. Thus, logicians and mathematicians make the best nonsense (Lewis Carol) and moralists write the best immoral characters (Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights. The point is: our most treasured nude art requires models. When we look at them, we are in essence looking at a representation of a real person’s naked body. Naturally, with photography, this becomes even more complicated. How does one create an image that is going to be exactly like a model without exciting lust? Granted, paintings excite lust as well, but many would say it is less likely.

So then, here’s the point. I’m mildly interested, have been for years now, in modeling. In practice, it’s unlikely I’ll invest the money and time. It’s just one of those things one vaguely considers doing now and again without much hope of doing it. However, if i one day did, I think I’d be interested in nude modeling. After all, where there’s an excellent nude painting, there’s an excellent model. Modeling is an art just as much as, well, art, and perhaps grossly under appreciated.

So, here’s my question. Is there anyone here with experience in nude modeling who would be comfortable talking about it? There were some now ancient threads on this, I realize, but those who replied, as far as I could see, either were nude photographers/sketchers or had no experience with nude art at all. With all due respect to nude artists, you have my admiration as much as any good artist, are there any models here who would like to voice their experience? After all, the sketcher’s or photographer’s experience is entirely different from the models. He or she may feel morally justified and comfortable, but is the model?
As I’ve made clear, I think the practice of nude modeling is entirely acceptable. However, I’m open to any and all opinions.

Are you trying to find out what beauty is? That’s what I often wonder sometimes. I think alot of it is inside you. But there are three things that contribute to beauty. Harmony, radiance, and wholeness.

Beauty is most definitely in the eye of the Beholder… A person Does not need to become naked to be Appreciated for there beauty… A Professional Nude Model Photographer or Artist see’s nothing sexual ,but a person of beauty… it’s the viewer of the art that interprets what they see… weather they see it as lustful or for the natural beauty… its up to you.

Are you interested in being a model or learning the art of painting a “nude”, that is what this is called in the lingo of the artists. Same as “portrait” “still life” “landscape”.

Models are tipically paid for doing it, therefore I will assume you want to become an artist. Nude painting is learnt by attending art school where people find out if they have the knack for it. Photography is also an art that is taught in art school.
Remember not all artists can paint or shoot a good nude, this is why many will concentrate on specific styles and seldom venture out of their main subject they are comfortable and good at.

If you believe one must be nude to see true beauty, try painting a 400 pound, pasty white, hairy sweaty man.

True beauty comes from within. Pretty and beautiful are not the same. When I see a pretty naked girl I don’t see beauty. It just makes me sad.

Are you volunteering?:smiley:

I’m interested in modeling. I have very little talent for drawing people anatomically correct, sadly, though I do enjoy sketching people.
So I was simply wondering what people’s opinions are on the morality and the artistry of nude modeling, (not sketching or photographing nudes, modeling) most especially someone with some experience in it. Thank you.

No thank you.:smiley:

As someone who spent a lot of time drawing nude models in college, some things to consider:

  1. You will not always get an ideal model. In one case, a model came in with an ideal figure.

  2. Even with a model, if you can’t draw, you can’t draw.

  3. Mood, especially facial expression, and body language need to be understood.

  4. Muscles change appearance depending on if the model is sitting, standing or has an arm or leg in a raised position. Examples could be like walking or throwing something.

  5. Perspective. The model as viewed from the front will look different if turned one-quarter from your point of view.

  6. Lighting will help highlight the face and muscles and will contribute to the mood. One light source is best. It should be placed above the model, to one side. That’s where live photos are rarely useful unless taken outdoors in sunlight. Studio photos rely on multiple light sources, reflectors and even lenses that soften features.

Beauty is dictated by a small group called “fashion designers.” They decide what the ideal measurements and facial types are. Then, stick thin models are used to wear their creations. The public should avoid immodest clothing. Recently, in an article titled “Return of the Woman,” the body shape of a natural, healthy looking woman has “returned.”

Beauty has certain universal traits. If one looks at an anatomy book from the 1940s, the average model still looks average today. During the 1970s and 1980s, designers decided to go thinner and thinner.

A great painting that includes a nude tells a story. Composition, lighting, perspective, facial expression, body language and an idealized figure are all desirable. The props, or background elements, need to be chosen, and any other figures need to “fit” the scene in a way that makes sense. The photographer doing something similar needs to make the same choices, but instead of painting a vase, he actually needs to get a real one to add to the photo/scene.

Finally, is it moral? I would say no. Anatomy books serve the needs of the painter/artist just as well. I know quite a few artists, and some draw very well, and some, not as well. They are all, at least, very good, with some who are excellent. Nudes in art must show the dignity of the human person.

It’s all in the presentation. In way too much media, we have actresses and singers and other celebrities or models who dress like strippers, or are posed in their underwear (falsely, referred to as “swimwear”), and worse. The media makes it a point to portray these women as sex objects, and to let you know that he or she has posed here and there to incite lust.

We need to get away from that. Nudity, in itself, is not immoral, but it is not necessary. For example, the face and hands are very important. You could get anyone to position their hands as desired and give you an appropriate facial expression. The basic figure is a basic figure. Nude modeling is not important and the beginning artist needs to ask himself: “Where am I going to use a nude in my work and where will it be shown?” Most artists who go to college expect to make part, or ideally, all of their living painting or drawing. Again, today, where would they sell art that includes a nude?

Human dignity needs to be protected.

Peace,
Ed

These are all very well said opinions, so thank you all. But few of them are what I was looking for. What I was asking was if nude modeling for an artist is alright in people’s opinions, particularly people who have done some modeling, nude modeling preferably, as they would have experience with what I am wondering about.
Evidently I expressed that poorly in my opening, I shall perhaps edit it to something more direct.
PS Well now, that’s peculiar. I don’t see any way to edit the post I used to start the conversation, either on the post itself or under “tools.”

It’s not necessary. And I can think of few outlets for artists to portray the nude with full human dignity. So today, when attractive women are being exploited as never before, only sacred art is a possibility. Immorality, including partial or complete nudity, is rampant today.

Peace,
Ed

I went to art school, drew, painted, and sculpted many nude models, and did some clothed modeling myself, but no nude modeling. I’m now a professional artist.

Hmm…I think nude modeling is okay. It is helpful to the artist, though not absolutely necessary. Partially clothed modeling can be very helpful, too.

Also, it’s not always a piece of cake. Holding the same pose for a length of time can be difficult in some cases. Being able to pray or meditate in some way may help you use the requirement of stillness to advantage without getting impatient to move.

At college, (many years ago), I knew a fellow student that did that. She also posed for playboy, had an abortion and was an atheist. She was was one of unhappiest persons I ever knew. I always wondered what happen to her. I am not sure why you truly want to do this and expose yourself to others but your question reminded me of her and there was no beauty in it.

Fascinating, thank you for the perspective. I realize it is not absolutely necessary, I simply think it might be an experience I might like to one day have, and in my opinion, by and large, the most famous and beloved nude paintings and drawings had nude models.

At college, (many years ago), I knew a fellow student that did that. She also posed for playboy, had an abortion and was an atheist. She was was one of unhappiest persons I ever knew. I always wondered what happen to her. I am not sure why you truly want to do this and expose yourself to others but your question reminded me of her and there was no beauty in it.

Goodness, poor thing. Little wonder she was unhappy. Don’t worry, posing for something like that (even if I had the body for it) never entered my head.

I still don’t know why you are drawn to being naked in front of strangers in order for them to draw you in art class. You seem to have some unhealthy ideas here. Whether its college level art class or playboy magazine, what is really going to be the difference. Why are you defining art and beauty in terms of nudity? Those societies such as ancient Greece, Rome etc also had extremely immoral behaviors that were equally as unhealthy. And even later on if you get married and have children, are you going to be proud of the fact that you decided to do this? Art should draw us closer to God and to higher values and I am not sure how posing nude for an art class cuts it.

Hmm. This strikes me as slightly odd. What is it that draws you to pose, naked, in front of strangers? For any purpose? Why are you interested in this?

It seems to me that there is nothing to be gained but an erotic, daring feeling of “freedom” by exposing yourself so intimately to others. This does not strike me as healthy at all.

Quite possibly, though I hope not. That’s why I’m asking for opinions.

Whether its college level art class or playboy magazine, what is really going to be the difference.

That is entirely a matter of opinion.

Why are you defining art and beauty in terms of nudity?

Define defining. :wink: If you mean by defining, limiting to then of course I don’t limit beauty to that. I realize clothed figures can be beautiful. And nature and music, all manner of things. If you mean by difining, including, yes, I would include a respectfully done nude image beautiful. Most would, you know.

Those societies such as ancient Greece, Rome etc also had extremely immoral behaviors that were equally as unhealthy.

What are you saying? Equally unhealthy as nude posing? We haven’t yet established it is unhealthy at all and, frankly, even if we had, I don’t see how that is relevant.

Art should draw us closer to God and to higher values and I am not sure how posing nude for an art class cuts it.

Absolutely. How could allowing oneself to be used to create something beautiful not bring one closer to God? If it honors Him, it draws you closer.

dshix
Hmm. This strikes me as slightly odd. What is it that draws you to pose, naked, in front of strangers? For any purpose? Why are you interested in this?

It seems to me that there is nothing to be gained but an erotic, daring feeling of “freedom” by exposing yourself so intimately to others. This does not strike me as healthy at all.

Possibly an erotic charge is part of my motivation, though I did not consciously think along those lines. However, a charge is certainly not my main reason.
I tried to explain this before, but it doesn’t seem to register. Am I explaining so poorly?
I’ve long been interested in modeling. As I stated, I highly doubt that I will in practice devote time and money to it, we all have things like that. Things we’re somewhat interested in but will likely never do. I could say the same of playing the violin, getting back into horseback riding, joining a running team…
If however, I did go in for modeling, say, so as to make money on the side, I might be asked at some point to do some nude modeling. I do not know how likely that is, but it seems likely enough. In my experience, one cannot open an art or photography book without coming across a fair number of nudes.

However, would you say the same of drawing a nude? I cannot help but notice you did not say to the poster above that drawing a nude is a bad idea. That is part of the reason I started this thread. I cam across the two threads on this message board that were supposedly about nude modeling. Yet, all the people who actually posted were either not in any way actually connected to the art world, or artists. Not models. And many of them talked about photographing and painting rather than actually posing. That struck me as odd. Why are we so used to thinking of an artist creating an image of a nude, but why is it we are squirmish about the idea actual people pose for them? Why do we appreciate Paul Gauguin and shudder at the simple fact that another art, the art of modeling, is needed for such beautiful paintings to be made?

Humanity is a wonderful thing…The Privilege of Free Speech is also an amazing thing.

it’s wonderful that so much can be spoken about concerning the wearing of nothing for the sake of art…

If you REALLY want to shamelessly model, remember if your intentional actions cause just one person to fall into sin, it’s your fault. Are you really willing to take on that responsibility? I should hope not, especially considering how easy it is for people to fall into that sin. Our culture is addicted. It’s a disease and you, rather than being a source of healing, would be fueling the fire of that disease.

Just things to consider.

My two cents:

I took a life drawing class in college; it met in the winter first thing in the morning in a kind of chilly art room.

In other words, I was pretty bleary eyed and working caffeine into my system.

It was TOUGH. I thought I was a good drawer, but the challenge of the lines of the human body were substantial for me.

I thought it was good practice. As a sketcher/student, it was hard/impossible to get turned on by the model, and one was at least not bad looking.

I think a model wearing shorts would give students just as much challenge: for me, the tough thing were the lines outlining arms and legs proportionately.

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