Ever since the dawn of mankind and the first artistic impulses expressed on the walls of caves, humans expressed the need to depict themselves. The anthropomorphic form has become omnipresent and even the gods were presented in their human form.
Although nudity was a common thing when it comes to the matter of representation, the paradigm started shifting and so the naked body was presented differently throughout the time. By the second half of the 19th century, the studies of the nude became a canonized by academia, and the very genre was further explored by modern artists.
For this edition of collectors tip, we bring you ten outstanding nude human figures that show how artists approached our bodies through the 20th and 21st century.
Featured image: Martin Tardy Asynchronous Nude V. All images courtesy their respective galleries.
By carefully observing the anthropomorphic form and the works of Egon Schiele or the Expressionist, the burgeoning Austrian artist Martin Tardy creates intriguing linear drawings that evoke both the modernist and contemporary, almost robotic craftsmanship.
Asynchronous Nude V is a simplistic, yet delicate drawing made by Martin Tardy in 2020.
Coming up is an artwork made by the Japanese painter and lithographer Lumi Mizutani, best known for her beautiful depictions of trees and branches. The artist was trained in the great tradition of Japanese and Chinese masters and learned the techniques of wash drawing and India ink. Ever since, Mizutani has been exploring the alchemy between different elements.
Evanescent Nude (Tribute to Man Ray) is a well-rendered and highly emotional drawing made by the artist in 2013.
Salvador Dali, one of the best-known artists of the 20th century; the champion of Surrealism, the eccentric, illustrator, writer, designer, and much more. He has influenced a generation of artists with his unprecedented imagery rooted in subconscious.
This particular work called A la Plage shows a different, non-surrealist side of Dali that was for his portfolio of eight prints the Nudes Suite in 1970.
Another influential Modernist figure, Henri Matisse practically revolutionized painting with his iconic cut-outs. He came to prominence between 1900 and 1905 as the leading proponent of the Fauves, a short-lived avant-garde movement that undertook a more experimental stance towards the Impressionist painterly approach.
Nu Bleu II (Blue Nude II) is a color lithograph on BFK Rives paper made in 2007 after Matisse’s celebrated simplistic iconography.
Peter Hujar was a prominent photographer and an influential figure of the New York art scene in the 1970s and early 80s. His black and white aesthetic driven by no wave and punk mostly celebrated the non-conforming identities and lifestyles of the era. Along with portrait photography, Hujar is also saluted for his treatment of landscape and animals.
Ethyl Nude (III) is a simplistic gelatin-silver print taken by Hujar from the back of the model in 1978.
This particular nude artwork on our list was made by the Colombian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero, celebrated for his authentic exaggerated stylization, described by the artist as Boterismo. Alongside still-lifes and landscapes, Botero focused on portraiture while exploring different themes spanning from daily life in his native country to art historical references.
Naked on green sofa perfectly illustrates the artist’s signature style as it depicts plus size lady resting on this vibrant piece of furniture.
The renowned German photographer Thomas Ruff came to prominence at the same time as his equally well-known peer, Andreas Gursky. The two of them belonged to a generation that studied under the pioneering conceptual photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher in Düsseldorf. Ruff's particular style is based on the simple and objective depiction of reality.
Nudes ga08 is a mysterious nude made by Ruff in 2001.
This nude was made by the well known 19th-century French artist Aristide Maillol who is primarily celebrated for his sculptures of monumental female nudes influenced by Classical Grecian statues. His classicism stood as a canon for Western figurative sculpture until the end of World War II, while Maillol’s mature figurative style is considered as the precursor to the radical simplifications of Henry Moore.
Maitres et petits maitres d'aujourd'hui (Masters and little masters of today) is a print produced by the artist in 1927.
One of the most celebrated figurative painters of the 1990s, Elizabeth Peyton is saluted for her intimate, and highly poetical approach to portraiture characterized by intense, but at the same time ethereal, palette. Through her work, Peyton explores the notions of obsession, identity, and representation.
Alice is a beautiful nude portrait of a young girl made by the artist in 2008.
The last nude in this edition of our Collectors' Tip was made by the celebrated American contemporary artist Kiki Smith whose figurative representations explore sexuality, gender, as well as the human relationship to nature. Under the influence of Surrealism, Smith created a rich body of work while expressing herself in different media spanning from sculpture and printmaking to textiles and tattooing.
Standing Nude is a small-scale sculpture produced by Kiki Smith in 2005.