Nudity in Art

If you’re a disciple of Christ who follows and obeys His teaching,  then this is something you ought to think through.  I did some searching and there seems to be mixed opinions on this topic. The people (we’re talking about Christians here) that are into art or study art seem to understand the importance of studying the human body and so they are “for it.” On the other hand, the non-artists seem to be opposing it at all cost.  My suggestion is first read the articles that I’m about to link so you can get an overall perspective on this important topic and then examine your own heart and seek the Lord for understanding.

Fine Art will help you to grow as an artist and that involves the studying of  human anatomy, the naked body. So the question is: Is it a sin to look at nude model(s) or images  to better our understanding of it so that we can recreate it with realism? Let me start off by saying that as of this writing, I do not take a “for” or “against” position simply because it’s not black and white. On the practical side of thing, I can only speak for myself after having examined my own heart. I can not come to you and recommend that you go and study nude simply because I don’t know you and the things you struggle with. It’s the same reason they don’t serve real wine in most churches when it comes to the Lord’s Supper. Take for example: I don’t watch pornography, and I stay away from it (by the grace of God). And the images I collect for my studies are not pornographic in nature. If done right it can aid you in your studies, but if done wrong it can become a stumblingblock. As believers, we have to be extremely careful and also keep in mind that the heart is very deceitful. Do you have a passion to grow as an artist or do you use Fine Art as an excuse to lust after the female body and to collect pornographic materials all in the name of “art”? Search your heart and be honest. God knows. If you struggle with lust and are easily triggered, then perhaps Fine Art isn’t something you should be pursuing, though you can still do art!

There are Christian colleges which allow drawing of the human figure clothed in bikinis or racing suits both of which resemble underwear and have well known advertising campaigns associated with them that exploit sex as the main point of their style. This practice seems inappropriate and more sensual by its suggestive commercial context and the unnecessary focus upon the covered area that it invites. To some, it appears more like going to the beach than to the classroom where serious academic study is underway. (Gordon College’s Policy on the use of Nude Models in Art)

 

The Greeks believed that man was the measure of all things; as such they sought to find the perfect human form and show it in their art. The resulting nudes are not pornographic; rather, they are the outworking of the Greek ideal. As Christians, we rightly reject their philosophy, but we should not make the mistake of mislabeling their art. (A Christian Perspective on Nudity in Art — Matthew Clark)

I remember coming across one YouTube video made for fine artists but had to turn away because it wasn’t done right and was very inappropriate. Just because it says “for artists” doesn’t mean that it’s right and appropriate for Christian artists.

Why Beauty Points Us Towards The Existence Of God

Moreover, when I describe something as ‘beautiful’, I do so because I believe you should find it beautiful too. There is something about aesthetic claims which almost demand universality. Why else is their controversy when modern artists who present abstract junk in the Tate Modern? It is because we regard their claim that their artwork is beautiful as degenerate nonsense which is nothing less than sacrilege and a stain on real beauty… beauty that is unified, orderly and mystical, rather than chaotic, random and depressing. Beauty is objective, it is not ‘in the eye of the beholder’. Claims on what is beautiful concern us just as claims on what is good concern us, it matters when someone is mistaken on what they believe is good and similarly on what they believe is beautiful. (Link to Article)

You have a lot to learn about typography

One of the other most common challenges for designers stems from a question we get asked constantly — how do I grow my eye for great type? What makes one font work with another, what makes one font better than another? How do I approach this in a systematic process beyond subjective whims, like “I really like this font”, with a more in-depth understanding of type? (Link to Article)

Step by step

I have always struggled with English Grammar (English is my second langauge in case you’re wondering), and in some way I still do. When it comes to visual art, I find that I am more at home with it, and this is true for a lot of us when it comes to learning. There are area of studies where we easily excel and then there are subjects that make us just want to pull our hair out of frustation for not getting it. On and off I have tried to better my understanding of grammar so that I can communicate better—both in writing and in art—and it has been a frustrating experience, but now I’m slowly getting it because I see a parallel with art. Looking back I can now see that I was impatient, forgetting that the key to learning anything new and foreign is patience and perseverance.

“To know ten thousand things, know one well.” — Miyamoto Musashi

If you know one thing, and just one thing, then know it well. That one thing that you know so well will help you to move on to the next—it will unlock new information and open your mind to see with more clarity. You see, intead of just focusing on Nouns and Pronouns, I was all over the places reading stuff on adjectives, verbs etc… Basically, I was trying to take in more than I could handle and confused myself in the process. Not to mention that there were missing links that made it hard to understand more advanced concepts. Now I take it step by step and I don’t frustrate myself with advanced concepts. I want to know Nouns, both its form and usage, and I want to know them well before I move on to the next on the list of The Eight Parts of Speech.

Friends, you who are struggling with art, be patient. Stay focused on the basics and fundamentals. Don’t skip them. Study them and know them well.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.” — Bruce Lee