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Painting nude bodies - porn or art?

Posted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:45 pm
by Mahala
In your OP, is painting somebody nude, porn, or art?

IMO, when the pose is not seductive and it is showing the true and beautiful human body. (Even in pictures that aren't painted.) When sexually engaging poses are used, it is usually to direct such a piece to a certain audience.

Posted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:01 pm
by Willow
I have to disagree with you there.

It depends on what culture you are talking about. In "western culture" sex in art is (historically) painted for the man's pleasure, even if it is a nude woman in a non-sexual position, as her gaze is usually directed at a supposedly male viewer.

But in many other cultures, sexual education was taught experieentially through Ars Erotica, art that examined the sensuality and knowledge of sex without being pornography.

The trouble here is we assume a dichotomy between pornography and art, where one may not actually exist. It is probably the intended audience that makes something pronography.

As well, a beautiful painting such as "the girl with the pearl earring" might be considered pornographic in a puritan society because of the lustful look on her face.

Interesting book on this topic is a BBC lecture series written by John Berger called ways of seeing. It is a text that almost all first year art students have to read. If this is a topic that interests you, this book will fascinate you, and three of the essays are photo essays so it is pretty easy to get through.

Interesting topic.

Posted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:45 pm
by Kystar
Because we are taught to repress our animalistic side, including our sexual side, then anything dealing with nudity is close to pornographic. The only things I consider pornographic are those that dehumanize or show one gender being used by another.

Sex is a facet of human life, and for many cultures was part and parcel to spirituality.

Art is something that strives for the divine light, IMHO.

Porn is something made for money and quick thrills.

Posted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:15 am
by Windwalker
As someone who loves art for the sake of art, I say that the only way you can tell is to ask the creator. If they say it's art, it's art. If they say it's porn, it's porn. Of course, you have to be careful who you ask, as some artists will go off on a five-hour speil about how really they're exactly the same thing or try to explain that although what they've created is art, in actuality it is meant to embody the spirit of porn. Even if it looks like a family picnic at the seaside or something. says: "obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, esp. those having little or no artistic merit. "

Art has a soul, even if the soul is a dirty and base one. (In fact, those are often the most beautiful.) Porn doesn't. If the porn does have a soul, maybe it contains an element of art. But then you have people who say that all porn is art. I say if you don't put any effort into the thing, it's not art. But others would disagree. So I refer you to my original point.... ask the creator.

In my opinion, painting somebody nude is an appreciation of the human form. Even if you go on to paint that form in a degrading position. And so, it's art.

Re: Painting nude bodies - porn or art?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:22 am
by Hytegia
It's what the Artist intended for the pieces.

Let's say, you have the statue of David at the Vactican- Totally nude, and proned up to be what women would have drooled over if he sprung to life... But he's Art. Simply because Michallangelo made him that way!
Now, on the other hand, Hentai- the general intention is to have a theme around being porn... And there's very few times I've said Hentai to be art. O.o It depends on the storyline. I define almost all Porn as Porn.
(Edited by Hytegia)

Re: Painting nude bodies - porn or art?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:57 pm
by runewulf
:roll: [-X The board isn't about hentai, kiddo... and really, what makes it porn is when it goes from the body, even sensually posed, to blatantly sexual.

Re: Painting nude bodies - porn or art?

Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:38 am
by Hytegia
It was relative to the topi- nevermind then. I was simply making the point of defining the difference between porn and art where the two actually MEET. I didn't mean to alter the subject, I was merely finding something that could be argued as one or the other, but showing what makes Porn- Well, Porn!

The Answer is if the images are MEANT to bring a form of arousal, opposed to the natural aesthetics of the Human Body. As I said with the DAVID statue, or in a "shoot-em-up" movie with a sex scene.

Re: Painting nude bodies - porn or art?

Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 1:53 pm
by davisherm
From a philosophical point of of view, interpretation is the key. It honestly doesn't matter what the creators' intention was. It's all in the eye of the beholder. The second a work is completed and shown to an audience, it stops existing only in the mind of the creator and becomes whatever the audiences interprets it as.

Just ask Rudy (Have I mentioned the 9/11 attacks in this conversation yet) Giuliani if the simple act of nakedness on a canvass is art or something else, not worthy to be seen by the public and he'll not only tell you about how he handled September 11th, but about the evils of so called 'Art' and how it needs to be removed from the MET. Post Haste.

I happen to be against that type of government censorship. Art is art and shouldn't be stifled. However, some modicum of good taste should be used in where you display something, obviously. You wouldn't go showing the recently unearthed Monna Vanna or something similar to school children because there's bare breasts. And here in the United States, that's still considered very risque. In France or Italy, not a big deal. The social Mores are different over there. We covered Lady Justice up, for crying out loud!

However, a piece that happens portray a nude body and piece that focuses on the act of sex are two different animals. My personal opinion is that most normal, well balanced people who don't have an agenda of some sort can spot the line between art and pornography pretty easily, but if you're convinced you're going to find smut at the art show, then you're going to see smut.

Now, just like how I mentioned you wouldn't go around showing bare breasts to children, there are some things you just don't talk about in public. Let's leave personal collections of cartoon pornography and what one does or doesn't do with their spare time out of this conversation.

Thank you.