AS TOMORROW WILL BE THE NATIONAL NUDE DAY, REDMILK CONSIDER TEN ICONIC NAKED MOMENTS IN ART
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, 1484-6
The work depicts the female nude figure of the goddess Venus standing on dry land having emerged from the sea. A perfect example of the type of picture targeted by the Dominican monk Savonarola in his campaign against profanity and frivolity, the painting miraculously survived the “bonfire of vanities” in 1497.
La maja desnuda, Francisco Goya, 1797–1800
The painting is renowned for the straightforward and unashamed gaze of the model towards the viewer. With this work Goya not only upset the ecclesiastical authorities, but also extended the artistic horizon of the day. Goya created a pendant of the same woman but clothed in contemporary dress, known today as La maja vestida, making clear that the focus of his work wasn’t a mythological subject, but in fact a nude Spanish woman.
Table by Allen Jones, 1969
Provocative British pop artist Allen caused a stir in 1969 with his notoriously erotic sculptural furniture featuring naked woman. Table presents a fibreglass woman kneeling on all fours, with her flat back supporting a glass tabletop.
Neo Naturists, Christine Binnie body-painted, 1980
Over the course of a five-year period in the early 1980s, Neo Naturists replied to Great Britain Thatcherite politic taking their body painting performances out onto the street and into nightclubs.
Showing off their naked and painted bodies, they created a unique brand of performance art made of anarchy, nudism and vitality.
The Power of Theatrical Madness by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1986
American photographer Mapplethorpe immortalised the epochal rock ‘n’ roll art period in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. His erotically-charged photographs reference nudity, bondage, prostitution and sadomasochism, documenting subcultures of the time.
Made in Heaven by Jeff Koons, 1990
In 1990, Jeff Koons released Made in Heaven, a not-for-the-prudish series of candid paintings with wife, porn star and politician Ilona Staller. The provocative and controversial sculptures, paintings and photographs showed the couple in a series of elicit positions. The images were designed to blur and question the lines between art and pornography, and are representative of Koons kitsch approach to design.
Untitled by Tracey Emin, 2002
Never one to shy away from controversy, Tracey Emin’s unique and intimate approach to art is demonstrated in Untitled, a simple yet candidly powerful nude self-portrait. Her work often focuses on heartbreak, trauma and sexual misadventures experienced throughout her unruly upbringing.
Verity by Damien Hirst, 2003 – 2012
Damien Hirst caused a stir in 2012 when erected a 67ft sculpture of a naked pregnant woman wielding a sword with an exposed fetus in Devon. Hirst has touched on nudity at various points over the years.
Sphinx by Marc Quinn, 2006
In 2006, controversial British sculptor Marc Quinn debuted Sphinx, a nude sculpture of Kate Moss in a rather compromising yoga position. Although technically in a leotard, it left very little to the imagination.
Adornment by Spencer Tunick, 2010
Spencer Tunick is renowned for large-scale nude photographs. He has staged 75 around the world, inviting volunteers to pose naked across locations including glaciers, Mexico city and The Sydney Opera House. Adornment was photographed in Hertfordshire in 2010, described as a naked pavement.