Notes On “Image Of The Body”

“God created man in his own image. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” The Book Of Genesis, Bible, King James Version
Classically the nude was the epitome of beauty (p.3)
He mentions the modern affliction of “clothes maketh the man” – without our clothing we are automatically powerless. Our clothing invests us with physical comfort (warmth) but also psychological comfort by hiding our bodies as nakedness is unacceptable these days. There is always a power struggle when nakedness is involved – whether this be in the sublime act of making love or the more horror filled options of the hospital or police cell. (p.10)
Adrian Stokes links the physical body as a representation of the character within (p.16) – in today’s society does this mean the morbidly obese are degenerate characters and the gym-bunny saintly?
Art represents life – we cannot understand the chaotic ugliness of modern art simply because we cannot understand it’s mirror that is modern life (p.17)
Greek statuary – cult of youth. Olympics enacted naked, but sexes kept separate; one games for & watched by men and another smaller games competed by and watched by women. Only the men’s event, procession, anointing & awards were naked. Glory was not for the individual but for the town/city they represented. (p.25)
“No nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling”
“If it does not do so, it is bad art and also morals” Kenneth Clarke (p.27)
Creative collaboration between artist and model described as akin to love affair. Mapplethorpe said you can be in love with the form, but not the whole. Does a physical attraction to the model bring out the best in the artists or are you blind to other things as you cannot see past your attraction for the model you are working with? Are the images I love most as good as I think they are or is it just my attraction to the model that blinds me? There certainly should be a trust relationship between the model and artist, but is that helped or hindered if the model finds the artist an object of desire?
Still under the classical influence of the Cult Of Beauty today (p.35)
(p.148) Unlike western culture – the nude body was commonplace in Japan so the sensually clothed was far more erotically charged than the full-frontal nude that titillated western tastes. Luxuriant cloth with sparing glimpses of flesh
(p.181) fourteenth century Dance Macabre
“Romantic determination to make the most intimate subjects fit themes for Art” Gill (p.307)
“Like all Romantics, he (Rodin) was anxious to record the spontaneous expression of the body when under the impulse of strong emotion” Gill (p.315)  “Rodin gave a foretaste of modern art, where the emphasis in portraying the nude has usually fallen on the sensual and sexual.” Gill (p.315)
“motive of his quest was for a true contact with the other, something the existentialists said was impossible” Gill (p.394)
“For Frink nudity suggests the essential vulnerability of the male…Power has been put on man whether he likes it or not”. Frink in Gill (p.414)
(p.430) mention of an exhibition of female artists of the male form and the furore that caused !!!

Taken from – Image Of The Body – Michael Gill (New York; Doubleday, 1989)

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