The deep and often painful emotions of pleasure,
pain, shock, or shame the sight of the nakedbody
arouseswere used by artistsin many means. Nakedness
was, and still is, always something unique. It can
signify divinity, or reveal human helplessness. Most
which accounts for the survival of the apotropaic
and the satyr and in Old Comedy.
I’ve tried to illustrate some aspects of the representation of nakedness,partial and whole,for guys
and for women, in Greece, and in the barbarian
world; to interpret some of the historical accounts, and
to “read”some of the images, in the Greek arty
language, as well as in some really queer barbariandialects. There are clearly issues of translation,
Frequently involving our own understandingof the nude
Robertson413, 488. Barbarianprisonerson Roman
148 Suprans. 3, 9-12, 91.
to Psychoanalysis(first English publ. Fresh
York 1964) 160: “The number of things which are repre-
in dreamsis notgreat. The humanbody
as a whole, http://x-public.com ,children,brothersand sisters,arrival,
Suprans.9-10, 38. AmongrecentstudiesseeL. di Stasi,
figure in art. We have a tendency to think of it as largely erotic.
Eros absolutely moves behind the sight of the naked
human body, but its sexual significanceis not the only
one in art. In fact, when it’s only eroticits meaning is
least strong. The Aphroditeof Euripides’Hippolytus, with all her awesomepower, was completely dressed. In
Greece the remarkable initiation of fit man
nudity, which absolutely originated in a rite, spiritual
context, developeda unique social and civic significance.
It becamea costume,a uniform:exercisingtogetherin
the gymnasia marked guys’s status as citizens of the
On the vases, this is how young
men were shown.
Female figuresshown nakedin people, on the other
hand, were generally entertainers. Girls represented
as exposed were broken, stripped of their clothing,
and in dreadfuldanger,as vulnerableand unguarded
before a male attacker as Athenian law considered
them to be in life. Clothes distinguishes guys from
http://rudenudist.com . This distinction remains valid in Classical
Greek art for women (thoughnot for men). Polyxena,
The perspective of nakedness among barbarians differs,
Frequently contrasting sharply with that of mainland
Greece in the Classical period, and permits US to see
more certainly, perhaps,just how specific the Greekconcept and customwere.
variety of adjustmentsto include-in a small waythe classical ideal of Greek male nudity and of the
gymnasia in their own artwork and in their life.
the Greeks. In Etruria, and in Italy, female nudity
and the picture of the breastfeeding mom still indicate the
power of the mothergoddess,as they did in the Mediterraneanbefore Greek art prevailed.
In Classical antiquity, so, the contrast between the clothed and the naked human body was
used to express some of the most fundamental contrastsof the
human encounter:God and man, human and creature,
man and girl, public world and privatelife
Mal Occhio:The Undersideof Vision(San Francisco1981),
with review by A. Burgess, TLS, 4 September 1981, 999;
Cultural studies practitioners have long debated the signication of clothing and
the ways in which they signify sensuality, sexuality, status, in addition to the ethics
and codes of production of clothing, consumption, the operations of ideas of
Fitting in the subscription to fashion trends — all in all, the ways in which
Clothes signifies. Analyses of garments and fashion have often treated the
‘naked’ body like it’s prior to rendering other than in its depiction in art,
pornography, advertising and other media. The discourses in art history and public
sphere parlance over the differences between naked and bare are moot points
when seen through a poststructuralist lens. Kenneth Clark (1956) indicates
that aesthetic portrayal — high art — has the ability to render the naked as nude,
as if ‘nude’ is another form or design of clothes, leaving behind ‘naked’ as the actually
disrobed. Treating the naked body in this way ignores how it is always already
Signified and constrained by codes of behaviour, contexts, distinction from
the clothed body, loose signications and ethnic rites.