The Female Nude by Lynda Nead
Art, Obscenity and Sexuality

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Anyone who examines the history of Western art must be struck by the prevalence of images of the female body. More than any other subject, the female nude connotes "art". The framed image of a female body, hung on the walls of an art gallery, is an icon for Western culture, a symbol of civilization and accomplishment. But how and why did the female nude acquire this status? In recent years, the female nude has received renewed attention from feminist artists and art historians. By examining the dissemination of the female nude through art education and the life class, through art publications and the language of art criticism itself, this book brings together analysis of the historical tradition of the female nude and discussion of recent feminist art. The book also explores the way in which acceptable and unacceptable images of the female body are produced and maintained, and by surveying the legal and social regulation of the obscene, renews recent debates on high culture and pornography.

About Lynda Nead

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Lynda Nead is Pevsner Professor of History of Art, Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the author of "Victorian Babylon: People, Streets and Images in Nineteenth-Century London," published by Yale University Press.
Published December 1, 1992 by Routledge. 158 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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The Independent

The life class, Nead argues, helps to define masculinity and artistic identity, the male artist transforming the base metal of the model's passive body into the 'gold' of great art.

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