Naked female statues

Discussions about serious topics, for serious people
User avatar
Tessa K
Dorkwood
Posts: 1485
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:07 pm
Location: Closer than you'd like

Naked female statues

Post by Tessa K » Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:43 am

Two recent statues of naked women are causing a bit of a palaver. Is a statue of a naked woman empowering or is it - yet again - naked women for the male gaze? We can't ignore the historical context of women so often naked in art for the male gaze but the sculptor of the second of these is female. Have we moved on enough that it doesn't matter anymore? Will naked females in art always be controversial?

Should artists consider the impact their work will have in society or just create whatever they want from their 'artistic vision' without considering the history and tradition of how these images are seen and used?

The first is in the US by a male sculptor. It's Medusa holding the head of Persus, reversing the usual portrayal of the myth. Classicist Natalie Haynes says of Medusa
she points to famous images of the Medusa myth as an example of the way the male viewpoint is privileged and we hardly think to question it: “it’s just a hero and his trophy”. But Medusa was not always a monster; in some versions “she’s a woman who was raped and then punished for it with snakish hair”.
(check out her book Pandora's Jar for more)

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-ne ... 180976048/

Image

The second is of Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of feminism (and of Mary Shelley) by Maggie Hambling

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-54886813

Image

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Dorkwood
Posts: 1539
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: Naked female statues

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:57 am

Is the second one of Mary Wollstonecraft, or in honour of her? Genuine question, because I'd assumed the latter.

The Wollstonecraft statue - I can see the point of what was trying to be done, but ultimately it looks like a tiny silver barbie rocket. Or as if the Doctor regenerated and all that came out of the fog was a leprechaun woman. Also, why does she have broccoli over her fanny?
Last edited by El Pollo Diablo on Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: latter, not former
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

plodder
Catbabel
Posts: 927
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: Naked female statues

Post by plodder » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:06 am

I assumed it was up, not over?

User avatar
jaap
Fuzzable
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:05 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Naked female statues

Post by jaap » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:14 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:57 am
Is the second one of Mary Wollstonecraft, or in honour of her? Genuine question, because I'd assumed the former.
As the article says:
The Suffolk-based artist said her critics "are not reading the word, the important word, which is on the plinth, quite clearly 'for' Mary Wollstonecraft, it's not 'of' Mary Wollstonecraft.
And the first image of the Medusa statue does not load, so here is a fixed version:
Spoiler:

User avatar
lpm
After Pie
Posts: 2113
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:05 pm
Location: COUNT THE VOTE. STOP THE COUNT.

Re: Naked female statues

Post by lpm » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:25 am

I like things that are hilariously bad. I like it when people confuse inches and feet on a napkin. I like seeing pompous artists crashing and burning.

I like this Wollstonecraft "statue" in three different ways.
I'll miss him after he's fled to Riyadh

User avatar
tenchboy
Snowbonk
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:18 pm
Location: Down amongst the potamogeton.

Re: Naked female statues

Post by tenchboy » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:36 am

Tessa K wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:43 am
snip
Should artists consider the impact their work will have in society
snip
The thought that artists* might not be stuck so far up their own bum holes as to consider anything other than themselves made me smile.
Thanks TK.
Must crack on, got a ditch in urgent need of digging.

User avatar
lpm
After Pie
Posts: 2113
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:05 pm
Location: COUNT THE VOTE. STOP THE COUNT.

Re: Naked female statues

Post by lpm » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:44 am

The original plan that won the competition wasn't as hilarious as the outcome. The final execution added the scrotum/brocolli and perked up the tits.

Image
I'll miss him after he's fled to Riyadh

User avatar
discovolante
After Pie
Posts: 2061
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: Naked female statues

Post by discovolante » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:47 am

How times have changed eh. (Nicked from a Facebook group)
Attachments
Screenshot_20201111-094459_Chrome.jpg
Screenshot_20201111-094459_Chrome.jpg (428.17 KiB) Viewed 474 times
don't get any big ideas, they're not gonna happen

OneOffDave
Clardic Fug
Posts: 163
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:26 am

Re: Naked female statues

Post by OneOffDave » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:52 am

Is that an appendectomy scar on Medusa?

EACLucifer
Catbabel
Posts: 927
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: Behind you

Re: Naked female statues

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:56 am

It feels worth noting that both statues being discussed are composed in a way that would be very typical for a male nude statue, especially Medusa, where the composition is deliberately evocative of statues of Perseus.

User avatar
veravista
Fuzzable
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:29 pm
Location: Directly above the centre of the earth

Re: Naked female statues

Post by veravista » Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:48 am

Also nicked from FB
sculpture.PNG
sculpture.PNG (355.94 KiB) Viewed 429 times

User avatar
mediocrity511
Fuzzable
Posts: 288
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:16 pm

Re: Naked female statues

Post by mediocrity511 » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:10 am

I just can't imagine a male nude being commissioned in honour of a male historical figure. If anyone has any examples, I'd be interested. In my head I've been replacing Mary Wollstonecraft with someone like George Orwell, Winston Churchill etc.and I just can't see it happening.

User avatar
Grumble
Dorkwood
Posts: 1301
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:03 pm

Re: Naked female statues

Post by Grumble » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:18 am

mediocrity511 wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:10 am
I just can't imagine a male nude being commissioned in honour of a male historical figure. If anyone has any examples, I'd be interested. In my head I've been replacing Mary Wollstonecraft with someone like George Orwell, Winston Churchill etc.and I just can't see it happening.
David?
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

EACLucifer
Catbabel
Posts: 927
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: Behind you

Re: Naked female statues

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:21 am

mediocrity511 wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:10 am
I just can't imagine a male nude being commissioned in honour of a male historical figure. If anyone has any examples, I'd be interested. In my head I've been replacing Mary Wollstonecraft with someone like George Orwell, Winston Churchill etc.and I just can't see it happening.
I'm not really very up to speed on more modern statuary, but Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker immediately springs to mind.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Dorkwood
Posts: 1539
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: Naked female statues

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:23 am

jaap wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:14 am
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:57 am
Is the second one of Mary Wollstonecraft, or in honour of her? Genuine question, because I'd assumed the former.
As the article says:
The Suffolk-based artist said her critics "are not reading the word, the important word, which is on the plinth, quite clearly 'for' Mary Wollstonecraft, it's not 'of' Mary Wollstonecraft.
And the first image of the Medusa statue does not load, so here is a fixed version:
Spoiler:
Yeah, sorry, I got mixed up between former and latter there. But thanks for the clarification.
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

User avatar
tenchboy
Snowbonk
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:18 pm
Location: Down amongst the potamogeton.

Re: Naked female statues

Post by tenchboy » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:24 am

If someone had a bit of time on their hands it prob wouldn't take much to mock up a naked Boris Pfiffle materialising from a primæval spume to celebrate the wonder that is the Brexit.
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Boris, Prick of Pricks;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

User avatar
Boustrophedon
Dorkwood
Posts: 1512
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:58 pm
Location: Lincolnshire Wolds

Re: Naked female statues

Post by Boustrophedon » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:26 am

Image
"Politicians should be replaced as frequently as diapers, usually for the same reason"
- Mark Twain

User avatar
mediocrity511
Fuzzable
Posts: 288
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:16 pm

Re: Naked female statues

Post by mediocrity511 » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:46 am

Grumble wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:18 am
mediocrity511 wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:10 am
I just can't imagine a male nude being commissioned in honour of a male historical figure. If anyone has any examples, I'd be interested. In my head I've been replacing Mary Wollstonecraft with someone like George Orwell, Winston Churchill etc.and I just can't see it happening.
David?
In whose honour was David commissioned?

There's plenty of statues of naked blokes knocking about, I'm on about something a bit more specific.

User avatar
mediocrity511
Fuzzable
Posts: 288
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:16 pm

Re: Naked female statues

Post by mediocrity511 » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:51 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:21 am
mediocrity511 wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:10 am
I just can't imagine a male nude being commissioned in honour of a male historical figure. If anyone has any examples, I'd be interested. In my head I've been replacing Mary Wollstonecraft with someone like George Orwell, Winston Churchill etc.and I just can't see it happening.
I'm not really very up to speed on more modern statuary, but Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker immediately springs to mind.
This is much more what I had in mind. Good example.

I do however note that Napoleon was involved in the commissioning of this statue. And I like the detail about him considering it " too athletic" and wanting it displayed a bit more privately.

User avatar
lpm
After Pie
Posts: 2113
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:05 pm
Location: COUNT THE VOTE. STOP THE COUNT.

Re: Naked female statues

Post by lpm » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:06 pm

Mythic characters are mostly naked or with their tits hanging out. Statues of mythic characters don't count. Nor do statues of real people like Napoleon being displayed as mythic characters.
I'll miss him after he's fled to Riyadh

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Dorkwood
Posts: 1539
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: Naked female statues

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:21 pm

There was that one of Mr Burns that Marge Simpson painted as well
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

User avatar
shpalman
After Pie
Posts: 2208
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:53 pm
Location: One step beyond

Re: Naked female statues

Post by shpalman » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:37 pm

mediocrity511 wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:10 am
I just can't imagine a male nude being commissioned in honour of a male historical figure. If anyone has any examples, I'd be interested. In my head I've been replacing Mary Wollstonecraft with someone like George Orwell, Winston Churchill etc.and I just can't see it happening.
Study for the Monument to Balzac by Rodin.

Although the eventual Monument to Balzac wears a dressing gown.
molto tricky

EACLucifer
Catbabel
Posts: 927
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: Behind you

Re: Naked female statues

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:56 pm

lpm wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:06 pm
Mythic characters are mostly naked or with their tits hanging out. Statues of mythic characters don't count. Nor do statues of real people like Napoleon being displayed as mythic characters.
Generally speaking, there's four main reasons for nudity in art.

Classical allusion - a lot of classical statuary was nude, starting with men and featuring women starting Praxiteles's depiction of Aphrodite*

Deemphasis of individual identity - clothes add a lot of that, so nudity can be used to depict an archetype or an individual as a representative of an entire category of people. I'd put the statue for Wollestonecroft in this category, a rather unsubtle - arguably ham-fisted - depiction of a woman representing women in general emerging from restriction and repression.

Showing vulnerability or innocence - nudity as innocence is present in the book of genesis, and it is a common method for showing vulnerability, too. A good, if unpleasant and powerful, example of the latter would be The Barricade, which is a commentary on the use of human shields. It's behind a spoiler for reasons that ought to be obvious from the title of this thread, treat as NSFW.
Spoiler:


Tittilation - lets not pretend a lot of art isn't about this, in depictions of men as well as women, though more common in depictions of women. Odalisque paintings are a good example of this, as are paintings like Le Somneil and L'Origin du Monde**

Obviously some will combine multiple categories, for example depictions of The Judgement of Paris, one of the horniest ancient Greek myths***, will combine classicism with tittilation.



*There's an ancient rhyme that means roughly "I know about Paris, Adonis and Anchises seeing me naked, but how did Praxiteles manage it?"

**It's utterly hilarious watching people convince themselves of the deep meaning of this painting depicting a torso, upper thighs and genitals but not a head, given that the painting is a much more basic, more or less p.rnographic, painting that should include a head, and a head section does exist, with the right pigments, canvas and matching wear from the original frame that lines it up perfectly with the rest of the painting - far more likely that the top part was removed to anonymise the model of what was a pretty shocking painting, especially as the model was quite likely Courbet's
mate's girlfriend.

***There's a lot of competition, mind you

User avatar
Tessa K
Dorkwood
Posts: 1485
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:07 pm
Location: Closer than you'd like

Re: Naked female statues

Post by Tessa K » Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:16 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:57 am
Is the second one of Mary Wollstonecraft, or in honour of her? Genuine question, because I'd assumed the latter.

The Wollstonecraft statue - I can see the point of what was trying to be done, but ultimately it looks like a tiny silver barbie rocket. Or as if the Doctor regenerated and all that came out of the fog was a leprechaun woman. Also, why does she have broccoli over her fanny?
Broccoli? I thought it was a merkin.

I have very mixed thoughts about naked females in art. There's a distinction to be made between public and private art too. Who is going to be looking at it?

Someone has put a T shirt on it now. You could say this is public engagement with art...

Image

EACLucifer
Catbabel
Posts: 927
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: Behind you

Re: Naked female statues

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:25 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:16 pm
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:57 am
Is the second one of Mary Wollstonecraft, or in honour of her? Genuine question, because I'd assumed the latter.

The Wollstonecraft statue - I can see the point of what was trying to be done, but ultimately it looks like a tiny silver barbie rocket. Or as if the Doctor regenerated and all that came out of the fog was a leprechaun woman. Also, why does she have broccoli over her fanny?
Broccoli? I thought it was a merkin.

I have very mixed thoughts about naked females in art. There's a distinction to be made between public and private art too. Who is going to be looking at it?

Someone has put a T shirt on it now. You could say this is public engagement with art...

Image
Complete with a TERF slogan. f.cking charming.

Post Reply