Wednesday, October 10, 2018


At the beginning of this series on nudes, I suggested that mapping the human body was similar to uranography, the astronomical science of mapping the cosmos.

One reader inquired: "What the hell are you talking about?"

True, our fragile little bodies are not as big as the universe, but our complexity and variety and capacity are just as vast.

Some planets are immense and fertile:

Gaston Lachaise's view of  his wife as an earth mother

The planet Mercury, closest to the sun, is burning hot on one side and freezing cold on the other:

Stephen Early

The universe was governed by the Newtonian laws of physics until Max Planck came along with quantum theory and said, "Oh yeah?"

Matisse views the human form in new ways

Earth is known as the "water planet."  Here David Hockney liquefies the human form (note the shape of those hands and head) and takes liberties with  the color of human flesh.

Remote planets in the pitch black void are revealed to us only by slivers of light along their perimeter.

Adrian Gottlieb

A celestial cloud of nudes:

Renaissance drawing
 Most of what we infer about the universe comes from glimpses of incomplete fragments.  As with art, we complete the picture by using our imaginations: 

Arkady Roytman

This post is mostly an excuse to share a bunch of additional nudes that I think deserve a wider audience.

 But the variety of approaches above should be a reminder that when viewed through the arts, our bodies offer a vast universe to be explored.


MORAN said...

That Gottlieb painting is awesome!

Øyvind Lauvdahl said...

The map is not the territory, though, and it might as well be that the image of the nude - that which is primarily looked upon and consumed - has done more to occultate the body as a being thing than to reveal it as such.

Anonymous said...

Like the posted work here.
Interesting that the nude is compared to something that does not exist (well it does exist in the scientist made up world/universe that they are exploring and telling people about). Stars and wandering stars(planets) do exist, just not out in a made up universe/outer space.

Donald Pittenger said...

... And "they" told us when I was college age that the camera eliminated the need to portray things. So art needed to be pure abstraction. No more of all that now-pointless representational (or even quasi-representational) stuff. Right? RIGHT?!?!?