Tag Archives: nude in art

The Nude in Art


A 10-minute line drawing from a few weeks ago

I went back to school at 27, starting in photography and soon finding my place further down the hall, where the art of painting was happening.

It became clear early on — and without much thought by me — that when you study art, you have to learn to draw the undraped body. So I signed up and pretty quickly understood every challenge an artist faces is dealt with in life drawing, also called drawing the undraped model.


A copy of a Rembrandt I did in college

The “undraped” part is important because cloth allows you to lie, to not paint an area you are struggling with. With no draping, you cannot lie. If your measurements are off, perspective is skewed;  if the light’s not right, it’s all very obvious, and this forces you to be better. So I never gave another thought to it. This is what artists do, and it’s helpful. Wow, is it ever helpful.


Another college throwback: this one, a copy of a Michelangelo

As a student of history, the nude in art has always been present, but in studying art history, you quickly learn each time period had its own feelings and unspoken rules about how exactly this subject should be handled. For example, it has almost always been that your model could not be looking directly at you — that’s too forward, the eyes must be averted. What?

Since my education as an artist started, conversations around the nude in art have been uncomfortable for me. I want the conversation to go away because it’s a genre that is critical to the education of a artist. But it doesn’t go away. And so I will continue to talk about it.


A study done last summer

Soon, I will be going back to Italy to study, primarily to paint and draw the undraped model. Why? Because every time I do it, I am reminded how it makes me a better artist. And as an artist, I hope never to arrive, but to always be in a state of learning and growing, to be better than I was the week before. And so, I continue my commitment to working from models, undraped. I hope you will come along with me for this learning experience. As I learn, I teach, and I hope you’ll join me on this adventure starting April 15.

For me, this subject of the nude in art is not about arguing the point; it’s about the experience of learning art. It’s just very matter of fact. Of course, it can be argued that you can learn art without this genre, and that is true, but if you’ve studied from life, you probably won’t find yourself arguing against the practice. You will most likely “get it” (though there are exception to every rule).

So what about you? What are your thoughts and feelings about the nude in art? As always, I love your thoughts and feedback. The best conversations can be found on Facebook and Instagram where you I can be found most everyday.

Florence, Day 3: A Day of Sculpture and the Nude in Art



The nude in art: It’s a subject of controversy, and I, like many artists, don’t understand why. It’s such a huge part is our art education. I have written about it in the past and explained my reasoning as to why it’s not obscene — it’s art. So today I’ll concentrate on how it is affecting my growth as an artist and as a person. [Click here to read my past musings on the topic.]

I think every artist should have to return to studying from “real life” several times in their journey as an artist, to freshen up how we see, and it’s only a matter of finding a place and the time in which to do this.


Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance. We all know the term, and many know it means rebirth. But more specifically, it means that here, in this city, there was a spark. Something special where patrons who valued the arts met some of the most gloriously rich creative minds. So the city had money and it knew just what to do with it. It had been a thousand years since the Greeks and Romans (the ancients, as they were called) had made such advances, and the people valued it. The emphasis was all about humanism, which meant representing man as he was, not a glorified version of the gods. And what would representing man as he really is be without intense study of the nude? Many Renaissance artists even worked on corpses to study the anatomy and muscular skeletal make up so they could really get it right.

On this day, I knew my class would be studying from life (that is, a nude model), so before class, I visited the Bargello sculpture museum to really break down how the body was handled through the hands of masters like Michelangelo and Donatello. It is something special to be studying with all of these amazing art works surrounding you for inspiration.

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Today, the city itself will be my subject as I begin my plein air study. It will be exciting to be outside!