Before the revival of nudity, people’s desire “germinated”.
The Black Death broke out in Italy in 1347, and the epidemic subsequently spread throughout Europe. People who are addicted to the spiritual world suddenly wonder how important it is to have fun in time! Who knows if you’ll still be alive the next day?
So what is happiness? The fifteenth-century humanist Lorenzo Valla gave an answer in On Pleasure: “Beauty is the basic gift to the human body… The beauty of women is not only in the face, but also in the hair, breasts and thighs.”
If you have read Boccaccio’s “Ten Days”, you will know that this kind of argument was quite popular at the time, because even if the content of “Tendays” is now, I am afraid it will be listed as “Yellow Books” “…
▲ “Ten Days Talk” records many stories told in ten days when a group of people went to the countryside to escape the Black Death. The picture above is Botticelli’s oil painting “Ten Days Talk”.
What kind of nude works have people who yearn for pleasure seeing? In addition to the icon of Jesus, the nude images in the Middle Ages were dominated by shriveled and rigid deformed people to express the original sin of human beings eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Thus, the task of expressing the beauty of the nude falls on the artist’s head. But where could an artist go to see nudes in those conservative times?
▲ The sculpture on the bronze gate of Hildesheim Cathedral, created in the early 11th century. The picture above shows sin, showing the scene of Adam blaming Eve and Eve blaming the serpent after the ancestors of mankind were found stealing the forbidden fruit; the picture below shows the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Adam is dejected, Eve looks back, and the ancestors of mankind bowed because of original sin and shame , frowning.
Joanne Bernstein, after analyzing and comparing a large number of female body paintings of the Renaissance, believes that before the 1590s, female body paintings were basically modeled on ancient sculptures or other works of art. After that, female nude models were used. was slowly introduced.
For artistic creation, there is very little real creation and creativity, and more is the inheritance of techniques. This is why ancient sculpture is so important. Masters like Michelangelo cannot get rid of this law.
The sculpture Laocoon was unearthed on January 14, 1506, and the master arrived at the site within a few hours. Before the appearance of Laocoon, he always hoped to express the pain behind the physical struggle through intense muscle activity, but he could not find a sculpture to refer to. In the eyes of later artists, a character in Michelangelo’s “Athlete” is reminiscent of the image of Laocoon’s eldest son (although I didn’t see it).
In fact, nude models appeared very early. It is said that the world’s first female nude model was Phryne from ancient Greece, and she was brought to court for doing this. When defending her, the lawyer lifted her clothes in front of everyone and said, “Do you want to make such beautiful breasts disappear?” She was eventually found not guilty. However, if the lawyer’s actions were placed in the Middle Ages, it is estimated that he would also be convicted.
During the Renaissance, female nude models were a complex occupation. Most of them were born in the poor class, and they often played the triple roles of servants, lovers and models when working. The 16th-century sculptor Cellini mentioned in his “Autobiography” that “I used her as a model and enjoyed her in bed to satisfy my youthful desires.”
As for male nude models, they are often the painter’s assistants or students. It is said that the model used by the sculptor Verrocchio in the creation of his masterpiece “David” (but this time it is not a nude model) is his student Leonardo da Vinci.
In order to be able to express nudes more vividly and realistically, the artists also learned about the human body by dissecting cadavers. Their anatomy attainments even surpassed that of the doctors at that time.
Leonardo da Vinci’s research on human anatomy continued for more than forty years, and he believed that human anatomy was the key to understanding human structure and human dynamics, a view that seemed to be a consensus in Renaissance art circles. Human anatomy was a compulsory course for art studies at that time.
The phrase “art comes from life and is higher than life” is especially suitable for nudes.
You don’t have to think about it, no one wanted to run naked on the streets in the Middle Ages, and ordinary people wanted to see real people naked only when something went wrong. The execution of the so-called “witch” was a big event at that time. In the popular American drama “Game of Thrones”, there was a plot of Cersei parading naked in the street.
While people in the Renaissance and later had no intention of being naked, clothing at that time, especially for women, became more and more nude.
In the 10th century, women’s clothing was large and long, their hair was covered in shawls, and they were also wrapped in cloaks, just like a female mage.
Slowly, their clothes were gradually tightened to make the body curves more prominent, and the sleeves became short-sleeved or even sleeveless. The neckline that we often see in movies is wide open, revealing the upper half of the chest. Collars became popular in the 14th century.
The nude art of the Renaissance brought liberation to the human mind, but women were still prisoners bound in the aesthetic cage of men. Even if they were not nude, they were better than nudes. The low-slung topless shirt and the tight waistband, just like the women’s bound feet after the Southern Song Dynasty, became the epitome of the patriarchal society.