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David (1504) "What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?" -Michelangelo The nude figure is a tradition in Western art, and has been used to express ideals of male and female beauty and other human qualities.Donatello made two statues of the Biblical hero David, a symbol for the Republic of Florence: his first (in marble, 1408–1409) shows a clothed figure, but his second, probably of the 1440s, is the first freestanding statue of a nude since antiquity, several decades before Michelangelo's massive David (1501–04).Nudes in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling reestablished a tradition of male nudes in depictions of Biblical stories; the subject of the martyrdom of the near-naked Saint Sebastian had already become highly popular. Although they reflect the proportions of ancient statuary, such figures as Titian's Venus and the Lute Player and Venus of Urbino highlight the sexuality of the female body rather than its ideal geometry.The nude figure drawing or figure study of a live model rapidly became an important part of artistic practice and training, and remained so until the 20th century.In Baroque art, the continuing fascination with classical antiquity influenced artists to renew their approach to the nude, but with more naturalistic, less idealized depictions, perhaps more frequently working from live models.
His emphasis on idealization points up an essential issue: seductive and appealing as nudes in art may be, they are meant to stir the mind as well as the passions.
and even when glorified in heaven, to allow him to display the wounds his sufferings had involved.
The Nursing Madonna and naked "Penitent Mary Magdalene", as well as the infant Jesus, whose penis was sometimes emphasized for theological reasons, are other exceptions with elements of nudity in medieval religious art.
Temple sculptures and cave paintings, some very explicit, are part of the Hindu tradition of the value of sexuality, and as in many warm climates partial or complete nudity was common in everyday life.
Japan had a tradition of mixed communal bathing that existed until recently, and was often portrayed in woodcut prints.
Both genders are represented; the male in the form of heroes such as Hercules and Samson, and female in the form of Venus and the Three Graces.