LA CIVETTA April 2019 - Page 31


Similarly, women’s bodies are restricted: in many countries it is deemed abhorrent to breastfeed in public and the Free the Nipple campaign, started by the filmmaker Lina Esco to protest cases where women have been arrested for public indecency when showing their breasts in public, have attracted great debate. The human body is constantly being repurposed and revalued to serve advertising campaigns or a similar end.

inhibition, Western Judeo-Christian values lead to a certain censorship of how naked the model feels comfortable about posting online to his 2 million followers (we see just about half of the dorsal part of his naked body). Therein lies the subtle timidity and shamefulness of nudity that is a remnant of Christian values.

There is an artistic distinction drawn between the portrayal of men as active and women as passive (in accordance with patriarchal values). The female nude is often artistically represented with images of a woman sleeping or narcissistically admiring herself, as does the viewer. As the visual arts critic Laura Mulvey explains “the determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figures”.

The critic John Berger also observes that in art “men act and women appear”. Whilst active women, such as the figure of Liberty leading the people, explicitly represent desired values such as Liberty and Fraternity, Klimt’s Prostitutes and Munch’s Madonna both appear dangerously active (under patriarchal values) as they flaunt their sexuality.

However, the Renaissance nude follows on from the Greek culture of viewing the naked body,

Historically, western culture has developed two deep-rooted attitudes towards the naked body: the Greek’s celebration of physical beauty and its nobility, and the Christian shame and sinfulness of nudity.

In the Bible, Adam and Eve, after having fallen into temptation, realise their nakedness and feel shame, whilst we later see figures such as Susannah and Bathsheba whose corporeal beauty is blamed for creating sexual temptation.

In his Instagram post (right) the male model Jon Kortajarena explicitly references the book of Genesis from the Bible. Whilst appearing to be without inhibition,


"Garden of Eden"