NUDΕ – A brief story
The charm of the human form has been praised in Art since the Ancient times. The ancient “kallos” included, among others, the incomparable beauty of the naked body, which was equivalent to ethos, strength and virtue. Hermes of Praxiteles, Aphrodite of Milos, kouros statues and countless sculptures and other remaining works of antiquity show the worship, respect and glorification of the naked body.
The 15th and 16th centuries are the centuries of the great conquests of Western Art. The artists’ interest around nudity is on its “golden” era again, as part of a more general shift towards the models of the Greco-Roman Antiquity. After the obscurantism of the middle Ages, the Renaissance leaves us masterpieces by genius artists, such as Tiziano, Raphael, Michelangelo and others who paint hymns to the naked body which, for once more, becomes something divine.
The rejection of idealism and the turn to the “real” of realism imposes the devaluation of nudity and its replacement with nudity, with Courbet being one of the first to dare to depict a naked female body with the genitals uncovered in the foreground.
Nude as a subject is found quite often also with the advent of modernism in Art, as well as throughout the 20th century, when it is constantly renewed.
Photography, as a contemporary medium, continued this long tradition from the very beginning by adopting the nude body as a constantly evolving subject, along with the technical development of the medium itself, as well as the cultural changes in general, passing through the photographic depictions of the nude statues of Greek and Roman sculpture, or the recording of the body of naked models for scientific purposes, to finally reach the artistic practice of the photographic exploration of nude as a pure form. Photographs of Renaissance type, early studies, the “Parisian” erotic photos of 1870, pornographic images of 1900, the “pictorialism” and photographs that looked like paintings, photos of landscapes with naked people, which are often found in 19th and 20th centuries, or even advertising and fashion photographs that have traditionally used the naked body in various campaigns of the big brands.
From Alfred Stieglitz to Robert Mapplethorpe, from Edward Weston to Diane Arbus, Helmut Newton or the provocative Andres Serrano, the naked body has never failed to “excite” the eyes and trigger both the artist and the viewer.
Nowadays, nude art shows the same artistic pluralism and polyphony that characterizes the contemporary artistic production in general. The purpose of the Annual Exhibition of the “Month of nude photography” is to highlight the various approaches of today’s nude photography – technical, aesthetic, morphological, philosophical etc, having the lens as medium and the human body as subject.