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Vanity fair, Pinterest

I know I know… if I promise naked people in the title I shouldn’t make a long boring introduction. Maybe I should go straight to the naked bits. And indeed you guys are going to see some very fit bodies there, I tell you. Sensual poses and pleasures for the eyes.

Let me just tell you how I put this chart together: I looked for beauty and emotions. In some cases, these works have given me emotions. In other cases, I heard comments of other people who were struck by them, so I was curious and researched a bit to see what they were talking about.

If you think that art doesn’t bring anything to your life, think again. Brain regions involved in the experience of emotions and goal setting are activated when watching art. And if you think that you don’t know much about art, think again. People go to museums and post or like pictures on Facebook of famous paintings because they like them and they want to learn more about them. So a quick look at 20 famous masterpieces of naked people might be good to make you curious about one of them, or simply to relax and enjoy their beauty.

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La Maya Desnuda, Wikipedia
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Nude sitting on a divan, Wikipedia
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Pauline Bonaparte, Wikipedia

The 10 naked women:

1.La Maya desnuda by Francisco Goya.
The painting is renowned for the unashamed gaze of the model towards the viewer; before this point, nude paintings tended to show shy, modest models with averted eyes. With this work Goya not only upset the ecclesiastical authorities, but also titillated the public and extended the artistic horizon of the day.

2. Nude sitting on a Divan, by Amedeo Modigliani.
On November 2, 2010, the painting sold at a New York auction for $68.9 million, a record price for an artwork by Modigliani.
According to the catalogue description from the sale at Sotheby’s, seven nudes were exhibited in the 1917 show, four of them titled Nu; “the present work may have been among these pictures…. the models’ permissiveness and the artist’s accessibility to them implied that these oils were post coital-renderings, the women still flush and basking in the afterglow”.

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Sleeping Ermaphroditus, Wikipedia

3. Pauline Bonaparte as Venus Victrix by Antonio Canova.
When asked how she could pose for the sculptor wearing so little, she reputedly replied that there was a stove in the studio that kept her warm, though this may be apochryphal or a quip deliberately designed by her to stir up scandal.

4.Sleeping Hermaphroditus by Lorenzo Bernini.

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Venus at her Mirror, Wikipedia

I put this work into the female ones, but it is actually partly derived from ancient portrayals of Venus and other female nudes, and partly from contemporaneous feminised Hellenistic portrayals of Dionysus/Bacchus.

5. The Rokeby Venus , also known as The Toilet of Venus, Venus at her Mirror, Venus and Cupid by Diego Velasquez.

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Woman in front of a Mirror – Wikipedia
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Lady Godiva, Pinterest

The work shows the goddess Venus in a sensual pose, lying on a bed and looking into a mirror held by the Roman god of physical love, her son Cupid.
She is often described as looking at herself on the mirror, although this is physically impossible since viewers can see her face reflected in their direction. This phenomenon is known as the Venus Effect.

6. Lady Godiva by John Collier.
According to a legend dating back at least to the 13th century, she rode naked in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants.
The name “Peeping Tom” for a voyeur originates from later versions of this legend in which a man named Tom had watched Lady Godiva ride and was struck blind or dead.

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Danae, Wikipedia

7. Woman in front of a Mirror by C.W.Eckersberg.
eckersberg is referred to as the Father of Danish Painting. His best known works are portraits of the Copenhagen middle class. He combines daily life observations with classical, harmonious principles of composition.

8. Danae, by Gustav Klimt

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Andromeda, Wikipedia
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The Woman in the Waves, Wikipedia

While imprisoned by her father, King of Argos, in a tower of bronze, Danaë was visited by Zeus, symbolized here as the golden rain flowing between her legs. It is apparent from the subject’s face that she is aroused by the golden stream.

9. The Woman in the Waves, by Gustave Courbet
Here, Courbet evokes the myth of Venus, the goddess born of the sea, but slyly subverts convention by depicting the model’s underarm hair—an element of realism amplified by the almost palpable quality of her flesh.

10. Andromeda, by Tamara Lempicka

Lempicka’s distinctive and bold artistic style developed quickly, epitomizing the cool yet sensual side of the Art Deco movement. Lempicka was criticized and admired for her ‘perverse Ingrism’, referring to her modern restatement of the master Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

The 10 naked men:

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1. David by Michelangelo
The huge block of marble was started about 25 years before its completion and left neglected and unfinished, exposed to the elements in the yard of a Florence cathedral. Michelangelo, only twenty-six years old, convinced the authorities that he deserved the commission. He worked two years almost non stop and put all his passion for art in it.
The statue is a Renaissance interpretation of a common ancient Greek theme of the standing heroic male nude; a symbol of both strength and youthful human beauty.
Because of the nature of the hero that it represented, it soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic and its success, and it has been extremely popular and loved by Florentine citizen since then.

2. The Creation of Adam, by Michelangelo

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Discobolus, British Museum

One of the most iconic male figures, decorating the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The hands of God and Adam are reproduced in countless imitations. Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam are the most replicated religious paintings of all time.

3. Discobolus of Myron

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The Veiled Christ, Museo San Severo

It’s a Greek sculpture completed around 450 BC. A discus thrower is depicted about to release his throw: “by sheer intelligence”, Kenneth Clark observed in The Nude. Myron has taken a moment of action so transitory that students of athletics still debate if it is feasible.

4. The Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino

The statue, created from marble, and has an eerily lifelike quality to it. It is one of the most famous pieces in the world because of the texture and appearance of the marble, which looks exactly like a real veil. The sculptor was able to create something that still stands today as one of the most impressive artistic accomplishments. The details on the face alone are stunning, the realism too. The compassionate covering almost makes the Christ’s limbs more naked and exposed.

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The Rape of the Sabine Women, Wikipedia


5. The Rape of the Sabine Women by Gianbologna

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Laocoön and his sons, Tutt’Art@
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Patrocle, Wikipedia

Influenced by Michelangelo, Gianbologna developed his own style, with perhaps less emphasis on emotion and more emphasis on refined surfaces, cool elegance and beauty.

6. Laocoön and his Sons
The statue shows the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being attacked by sea serpents.
The suffering is shown through the contorted expressions of the faces (Charles Darwin pointed out that Laocoön’s bulging eyebrows are physiologically impossible), which are matched by the struggling bodies, especially that of Laocoön himself, with every part of his body straining.


7. Patroclus by Jacques Louis David

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Bacchus – Uffizi.org

French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era. In the 1780s his cerebral brand of history painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity toward a classical austerity.

8. Bacchus by Caravaggio

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The dying Gaul, Wikipedia

Bacchus is not represented in an idealized way. On the contrary, he might look like a man of the people, like one of those characters Caravaggio used to hang around with in taverns and brothels. Unconventional, introspective and a real rebel, Caravaggio focuses on the human being, describing the imperfections and limitations of his mortal nature.

9. The Daying Gaul, by unknown (maybe Epigonus)

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Seven bathers, Wikipedia

It depicts a wounded gladiator in a Roman amphitheatre with remarkable realism and pathos. The Roman historian Livy recorded that the Celts of Asia Minor fought naked and their wounds were plain to see on the whiteness of their bodies. The message conveyed by the sculpture, as H. W. Janson comments, is that “they knew how to die, barbarians that they were.”

10. Seven Bathers, by Paul Cezanne.

Paul Cezanne created some 200 famous paintings exploring the theme of female and male nudes in the landscape, singly and in groups. None of the nudes was painted from actual observation
Kandinsky emphasized the content of Cézanne’s paintings, by defining it his “gift of seeing the inner life in everything.”

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