Monday, June 17, 2013

Are Nude Paintings for the Pleasure of Men

Introduction My uncle Parduman Singh was a painter. He painted prodigiously, but died a pauper, unsung and un- heralded. He was a contemporary of Hussain, but that is where the comparison ended. My uncle painted nudes and conditioned my thinking on this aspect of painting. Later I saw the nudes of Dali, Edgar Degas, Monet and others and realized that painting a nude woman is nothing more than what she would appear to a male
Painting a Nude Woman; the Ethos In any painting a woman is on display for a man who ultimately has the power over her. As an example a look at the paintings of Degas especially after the bath (woman drying herself) shows a woman to a male viewer who spies on the woman in her most private moments. He invades her space in a way that allows the viewer to feel as though he deserves to look at her and that she would not be positioning herself the way she is if he were not watching her. This confirms Berger’s theory that the woman will behave in a way that suggests that she knows someone is watching her and it is her duty to make a mundane task as sexual as possible for his pleasure. The Realist Movement
Thus hordes of painters especially after the realistic movement emerged in the 19th century painted women in the nude as they look in their natural form complete with hair. This is basically for the man and a women being painted knows that her portrait in the nude is an exhibition for a man. Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde is a classic example. it is displayed below