Browse our collection of contemporary nude art for sale today. Our online gallery showcases exciting new art from emerging and established artists around the globe. Browse our selection of nude photographs, oil paintings and drawings. Begin your search by taking a look at our expressionistic, geometric or abstract nudes.…
Desire and Denial (2017) by Teresa Wells is a figurative sculpture of a male torso. The classical influence on the sculpture is easily presented with the artist’s ability to create realistic details of the male body. The title of the artwork removes the classical association of male nude with strength and heroism, instead inviting the viewer to question the relationship of the male body with its environment.
Paris Ackrill’s photographic hand print Immersion (2015) pushes the conversation of what place does the female nude have in modern art and society. The photograph illustrates a young woman lying in the forest with her head cropped out of the image. This photograph explores the relationship of female sexuality and nakedness with the sensuality and spirituality of the natural world. By conjuring up these ideas into one photo, the title of Immersion equally celebrates the organic beauty of women and nature as one entity.
The subject of the nude originated in Ancient Greece over 2,000 years ago. Within this Ancient civilisation, the nude focused on the depiction of the idealised naked body, typically of muscular male heroes and the voluptuous figures of female goddesses. Gender roles of men and women were established with these portrayals, as the male subject represented the values of strength, youthfulness and bravery, whilst women represented ideas of fertility and erotica, with their bodies objectified for the male gaze.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, artists were heavily influenced by the Classicism of Greek mythology, and transformed the nude into a symbol of eternal youth, beauty and antiquity. Inspired by the classical sculptures of Ancient Greece, Renaissance artists placed the nude subject at the centre of their paintings. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, was adored by Renaissance artists, and, in the early 16th century, she was represented in oil paintings, drawings and sculptures. Titian’s painting Venus of Urbino (1538) depicts a young, nude woman identified as Venus (the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite) reclining on a bed. Yet, unlike previous representations of the goddess, embedded with classical and allegorical symbolism, this painting confronted the viewer with the sensuality and sexuality of the goddess.
Michelangelo’s David (1501-1504) is considered one of the most influential sculptures in existence. At 5’1” tall and carved out of marble, Michelangelo depicts the biblical hero of David who is seen as a figure embodying the values of male strength and beauty.
For over 400 years the nude sculpture, pioneered by masters such as Titian and Michelangelo, remained relatively unchallenged in the western art historical canon. This radically changed during the turn of the 20th century when groups of European artists decided to experiment with the traditional representation of the nude.
French artist Jean Metzinger Deux Nus (Two Women) (1911) depicts two female subjects against a natural background. By breaking the traditional pictorial composition of the female bodies, their figures are cut into small fragments, creating multiple perspectives of the subject matter. This Cubist technique transforms the depiction of the nude away from classical idealised values of the female body and identity into a subject exploring primitive sexuality and expression.
Throughout the 20th century, portrayals of the nude became less frequent as modern artists moved towards contemporary art styles such as Abstraction and Minimalism. Consequently, by the 1990s, figurative work including using the subject of the nude was deemed unpopular and uncommon. Yet artists such as Lucian Freud experimented with creating realistic depictions of the human body. Freud’s oil painting Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995) illustrates a nude model sleeping on a sofa. Freud specifically referred to the painting as ‘naked portraiture’ to remove the artwork from conventional ideas of a romanticised and idealised naked female body associated with the nude subject.
Throughout the history of the nude, females have been depicted through the male gaze, categorised as sexual objects to be seen. However from the 1960s onwards, female artists began to use feminist interpretations of the female nude to regain control of the subject’s depiction in culture and society.
In 1972, Eleanor Antin’s series Carving: A Traditional Sculpture transformed how the nude can be viewed as a living sculpture. The series consists of 145 black and white photographs showing Antin’s transitions during her process of losing 10 pounds over 37 days. This artwork combines performance and conceptual, sculpture and photography to explore how real bodies can be sculpted through manipulation and self-discipline to present itself as nude portraiture to the camera. This was interpreted by many as a message about women regaining control over their own bodies in defiance of the beauty ideals imposed on them by society’s standards for women.
Contemporary artist Romily Alice has created a series Always Turned On (2016) portraying figurative female subjects created by neon lights. The women’s bodies have been drawn from an ambiguous internet source, highlighting the connection of objectifying the female body with denying a woman her individual identity. Alice has declared her work’s intention is to encourage the discussion of how cultural depictions and ideas around female appearance and sexuality have been created from a heavy male gaze.
Find out more in our Guide To Nude Art