Nude vs. Naked by Natalie Velez

Nude vs. Naked

Human Form is ART

A Artistic representation of the human form has been found in every civilization in human history: from Prehistoric art to the Ancient World, Renaissance and Baroque, from Impressionism to Modern and Contemporary art.

The Venus of Willendorf

Prehistoric Art. Venus of Willendorf. 28,000 – 18,000 BC. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria. Photo credit Don Hitchcock, 2008.


Renaissance. Michelangelo’s David, 1501-1504, Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence. Photo credit Jörg Bittner Unna.


Baroque. Venus in Front of the Mirror, 1614/1615. Peter Paul Rubens. Liechtenstein Museum.

But for us art lovers, what defines the term? What is the difference between nude and naked?

When we think naked, it is not only about being undressed, but also there is a sense of discomfort, the urge to be dressed or covered up. There is a sense of being vulnerable, unprotected, shamed.


Adam and Eve, 1600-1800 C.E., Fresco, Abreha and Atsbeha Church, Wukro, Ethiopia. Photo credit Bernard Gagnon.

As nudity goes, the associations are more organic, free and comfortable; there is no need to cover or hide, yet there is an acceptance of the human form. As I read in the article Nude In Visual Arts,  “…to be nude was more than a state of undress but rather the embodiment of the classical Greek philosophic, religious, and social understandings of the human person, human dignity, human anatomy, and Artistic Creativity. ”


The Large Bathers, 1884-87, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Despite that the first formal discussion on the Nude, As A Convention Of Academic Art, started by the British artist Walter Sickert in 1910, and continued by other scholars, was influenced by the Feminist movement, the celebration of the human body is and will be one of the strongest in-demand subjects of ART.

No wonder famous Nu couché, also known in English as Red Nude by Amedeo Modigliani, became one of the most expensive paintings ever sold. The purchaser was the Chinese businessman Liu Yiqian. The painting demanded $170,405,000 at a Christie’s New York sale on 9 November 2015.

Nudes by Modigliani

Nu couché, 1917, Amedeo Modigliani. Privite Collection. 

Front to Back by Rose Bellissimo

Contemporary Art. Front to Back. 2018. Rose Bellissimo. Bella Unica Art Gallery, St. Petersburg, Florida.

What’s your position? Do you enjoy looking, are you fascinated by the forms and shapes, or every time you pass the statue of David do you blush and cover your kids’ eyes?

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