“Marie Antoinette, it turns out, was misrepresented in history. I can’t be sure, I wasn’t there, but many historians say her reputation was villainized from reality starting in her own lifetime. Our modern day American culture glorifies the sacrificing female role model to the point where many modern women feel guilty for doing almost anything for themselves. Marie is the antithesis of what we glorify today, and I say perhaps she has something to teach us. I’ve always felt the kindest thing anyone can do for the ones they love is take care of themselves. You can’t be any good for anyone else if you are not good to yourself first.This painting was directly inspired by Marie Antoinette as a symbol of it being “OK” to take care of yourself, to enjoy life, to celebrate the joy of womanhood, and to embrace being alive as a occasion in itself.
“Referencing Manet’s “Olympia,” I borrowed from history in the creation of this work. It’s a classical theme in a rebellion against modern demands on the feminine, in this unique time in history when we an have come so far and yet we have a ways to go in owning our equality. In the meantime, ‘Let them eat cake.'”
Size: 36 x 36
Medium: Mixed media
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I’m traveling to the Sedona Center for the Arts this week to take a “Figurative Painting from the Undraped Model” class with my mentor, Bob Burridge. In college, I enjoyed classes that used an undraped model, as this technique taught me more than any other. This time-tested method teaches many important considerations, including perspective, shading, foreshortening, lighting, line and design, all in one class.
The topic of nudity also arose in the art history classes that had me on the edge of my seat, hanging on every word. It’s there that I learned that the nude was present in art from the beginning. Today, it is still an important part of any art education.
Titian’s “Venus of Urbino” (1538)
Manet’s “Olympia” (1863)
Perhaps it’s due to studying the historical, cultural and technical relevance that I never considered nudity in art improper in the least, and felt completely at ease exploring it through my own artistic pursuits. Nevertheless, I felt shocked and dismayed when I once heard someone comment on my figurative art as “inappropriate.”
My travels have led me to believe that this seems to be predominately an American issue. All the nudes on display in the worlds’ museums, and a general ease with the body found globally, set the stage for an acceptance of the unclothed human figure in art. What are your thoughts on the nude in art? I invite you to join me this week in my studies and explore this subject with me.