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The Nude in Post World War II Art - Essay Example

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An overview of art depicting the nude or figure, post World War II is provided. Specimens of art work from various movements that existed following the Second World War are shown, along with some discussion of their art. Specific art movements such as Minimalism and Pop Art are looked at in some detail.
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The Nude in Post World War II Art
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Download file to see previous pages But these movements were construed as being of European origin, and were considered essentially foreign to the United States.
In the 1930s some American artists staged a strong rebellion against European influences in American art. Grant Wood's American Gothic was typical of a movement called regionalism, whose agenda was to celebrate what was typically American, and to do it in a style that avoided any references to European modernism. But for other American artists the regionalists' embrace of nationalism could only hinder the arts.
Kenneth Clark, in his book, the Nude: A study in Ideal Form, studies the classic nude in Greek art. We observe that several of the factors that inspired interest in nudes then, are true today too. Thus, "the nude gains its enduring value from the fact that it reconciled several contrary states. It takes the most sensual and immediately interesting object, the human body, and puts it out of reach of time and desire; it takes the most purely rational concept of which mankind is capable, mathematical order, and makes it a delight to the senses; and it takes the vague fears of the unknown and sweetens them by showing that the gods are like men and may be worshiped for their life-giving beauty rather than their death-dealing power."
The idea of "recThe idea of "reconciling contrary states" is, in fact, one of the most significant benefits of creating and viewing the nude. Our everyday life is littered with opposites with which we must somehow work and make sense. Realizing reconciliation in our corporal existence helps us to understand how this is accomplished.
The body is both an object, inanimate and art-like, and a subject--a person, a personality. It is universal and yet individual and unique. It is an art form based on geometry, line and angle, light, shadow, meter-reading and lens distance as much as on spontaneous inspiration. The nude in nature reminds us that we are a part of the environment, while making it clear that really we are not. The industrial nude reminds us that we are man-made, yet we are separate from our creations. We see the beauty in the awkwardness of our bodies. We feel peace, although we remain ill at ease. We watch opposites work to create union--harmony despite conflict.
All art is sensuous in that it heightens and delights the senses both in the making and the viewing. It is the transformation of the emotional into the physical, the spiritual into the corporal. It is the language of the unspeakable. It gives form to the intangible. It is the very act of extracting what is sacred within us and giving it shape in an experience which is sensual and, in its purest form, arousing. As previously noted, this arousal is efficiently sublimated in most art forms. We can safely enjoy the arousal of the art piece without defining the emotion. We are not suspicious or threatened by our feeling because we know that it is not in regards to the art object (ie: the piece of pottery or abstract sculpture). We are simply aroused by the art itself. The excitement of art is naturally true of figure art as well, but we suddenly become alarmed, because we fear we might be aroused by the subject matter. In truth, we are most likely responding to both the subject and the art ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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