Shop More Submit  Join Login

:iconhq: More from hq

Featured in Collections

Journals, News and Stuff by GirlWithAHat

Journals by AFineWar

Journals by Anomalies13

More from deviantART


Submitted on
November 1, 2011


247,623 (230 today)
2,232 (who?)

Good Nudes vs. Bad Nudes?

Tue Nov 1, 2011, 2:57 PM by techgnotic:icontechgnotic:
''Athena's on the Qui Vive'' by erwintirta

The argument for the nude in art:

Our visual perception of the human face and then the human body has set the basis since the beginning of human history for our sense of what is beautiful and what initiates all our seminal ineffable sublime feelings about the nature of love, life, desire, destiny, eternity, ad infinitum.

The curvatures and symmetries of the human body even lay the geometric basis for the artistic structures of all our art forms, not only for the visual arts but also for literature and architecture.

Given the primacy of the body as the beginning of all that we are in life, and given the eye as the primary receiver for the collection of all information in our lives, how could the artistic nude not be a massively represented art form on a global arts forum like DeviantArt?

And besides, nudes are something people enjoy looking at—and art needs no other justification than being something that brings some small amount of pleasure into our lives.

The Kock In

You mean men enjoy looking at nudes.

You mean men enjoy looking at nudes. And women not nearly so much—because they have to endure the daily indignities of being treated like mindless “objects” by clueless men. Nude art in any media will always teeter precariously on a very fine edge separating the “empowering” from the “demeaning.” It’s all in the context. Helmut Newton famously photographed a model on a bed wearing a saddle. Is this erotic fine art or just high-gloss perversion? Is it the artist’s intent to audaciously exercise his adoration of the nude form or to merely indulge misogynistic darknesses? And you, viewing Newton’s photograph, will have to make your own decision as to the worth of the piece, based in the unique context of everything you’ve experienced in your life.

We don’t really know the artist’s intent—and we’re left with our own reaction to the artwork for judging its artistic worth and merit. That’s the problem.

It’s so intimately

One person’s erotic art is another person’s worthless sensationalism.

There can be no ultimate judge or definer – and thankfully the majority of people in the world have recognized this fact of life and are against most censorships. This leaves us with the vexing debate as to how much nudes is too much nudes on DeviantArt.

The only thought I can offer is that, because men (and women) photographing, painting and sculpting nudes is not going away. We know better than to try to censor art or empower bureaucratic “judges” to set limits, it is imperative that we keep the current conversation going about what is good and beautiful and what is bad and dangerous about our ubiquitous nudes situation.

If only we can remain ever mindful and considerate of—and always remain in dialogue about—the good and bad possible side effects of the nude art we enjoy, then maybe we can have our erotica and our feminism, too.

Kind of like enjoying alcohol, but knowing to never drive drunk. Art is never entirely stand alone. The context is always present, transformative, and as important to the experience of art as the art object itself.

For The Reader

  1. Do you think there is too much nude subject matter on deviantART or is it a non-issue for you?  How much do you think your gender or sexual preferences might influence your answer?
  2. When is censorship of art permissible?   Where would you draw the line?  What rational rule could you offer as a practical guideline?
  3. Have you ever had a work of art you created censored or banned in any way?
  4. If an artist really believes in what he or she has created, how should the artist respond to censorship of that art?  Have you been made aware of an instance of “art suppression” via the Internet?
  5. Would you ever suggest to another artist that he or she should tone a work of art down or agree to the censorship of an art object in a specific situation?

Add a Comment:
Minyassa Featured By Owner 1 hour ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1. Nudity is a non-issue for me. Humans are animals, and as such, photographing them without clothing on to obscure the form is the same as photographing any other animal. It is possible that my sexual preferences come into this as I do not automatically equate nude with sexualized.

2. I don't think censorship of art is acceptable under any circumstances. I do think that taking measures to avoid barraging people with images that are a waste of their personal time is needful, such as categorization in browsing, but as art is so objective, it is ridiculous to censor it as there is no way to do so that makes sense or is not excluding someone. Rather we should educate art viewers on how to move on from pieces that they do not like, and remind people that creating art is not an interactive activity unless the artist invites such and that viewers do not have the right to demand to alter an existing piece of art any more than they have the right to redesign another person's face. If they don't like it there are other pieces of art they might enjoy better, but to be frustrated because a specific piece does not meet one's own specifications is absurd.

3. I have never had a piece of my art censored, probably because I am wise to the rules of the venue and it would be a big waste of time to upload something that would be taken down. It isn't rocket science, the rules are clearly posted. Whether I think they are right or not has no bearing on the situation as it exists in reality.

4. If the artist really believes in the piece they have created then they should respect it by displaying it in an appropriate venue that will allow it and has not stated that there are any rules against it. Again, it's not rocket science to read the TOS. As someone who has seen such a variety of different sorts of imagery on the internet that I am rarely shocked anymore, I do not think there is a suppression of art. There's always somewhere to display something, it simply might take a bit of research to find the appropriate place for it.

5. I would never ask another artist to do a thing with their own piece of art. It's theirs. To ask someone to alter their artwork is one of the most presumptuous and haughty things I can imagine doing to another person. If they are desperate to display something in a venue that has stated that such things are not welcome, they are being unreasonable and I cannot advise them. I really can't imagine why a venue that would call for censorship deserves a certain piece of artwork to be present on a basis of compromise.
Lapinosor Featured By Owner 2 hours ago
Totally agree. May I translate it in french for my groupe of photographers ? I put a link to this page.
afishanado Featured By Owner 6 hours ago
Answer 1. Non issue, gender or sexual preferences a non influence. If you truly call it art it is non-censorable.
2. Is all, any art rational? Can a moral/amoral object be subject to litigation?  
3. None, non-representational
4. Critique is good, censorship not. Critique shall prevail in the internet/digital world. If enough people are dissatisfied it could be unacceptable as art. not censored. If not acceptable/dissatisfied the work will disappear. Art suppression via the internet? What the hell is that?
5. Nope, artists give their all, "Toning it down" has no meaning in art expression. Clarity via an editorial sense is left to the artist. 
moonarcher2 Featured By Owner 6 hours ago
whoa how brave you are!!! excellent dialogue. and i think very well articulated.  please keep in mind these are my opinions. and this is how i perceive things. and thats what makes me, Me!! Censor young people from having access . censorship should only be used to protect young people
i tend to see it this way  as we grow into adults  even at 15 or 16 we all begin to experiance our coming out into our sexuality and the curiosity of who we are, some sooner some later.  nudity can stimulate sexual desire and passions at various ages it really depends on the person. i started looking at magazines at 14 or 15 maybe a little younger even . there are cultures  that begin even sooner . to me its all very natural as long as its age appropriate. Pornography on the other hand  is video or photos of the actual act of sex (of many kinds). i dont feel that  it should be present where young people surf and look at the art and  imagery that is available on DA. thats one of the reasons we have safe searches so that young people wont see these things(nudity).  i dont think that pornography should be on DA at all. there are other more appropriate and consensual places for that.  i also think its very important to differentiate between the two. i would not want my children watching me and my wife together like that. however  nudity is not pornography. nuduty is just that nudity. male or female. i have noticed there are far less male nudes than female im firmly of the mind if you dont like it don't look at it pass it up noone is compelling you to select that nude to look at except you.!! and if you dont want to see nudes then turn on the safe mode. because  for you to sensor me or my art you are projecting your fear on me(i say that because most of it comes from fear that God or someone is going to be offended by it). and im not afraid of it. and i am FREE to make that differentiation.
the human figure male or female is absolutely amazing. i am a male and i can find magnificence and beauty in a male nude as much as a female nude and i do look at both in like manner . however im not stimulated by the male as i am the female.  but that doesn't mean i should make lude or rude comments about any of it. that is where maturity and intelligence plays out in how we deal with these types of issues. but that is the great thing about freedom. you have that choice. there is no need for us to respond or accept a comment like that and just like an image you may not like it just let it go ignore  it.  it is possible.!! its like whatever man. i hope this made some sense.  ya know hey maybe im wrong, im not trying to offend, but to me its as simple as this say,
I like chocolate, you dont, then dont eat it then  i say dont tell me not to eat it cause you dont like it. your not me.

#1 no there is not to much.
#2 never, censorship is (control) you should not tell me what i can and cant draw, photograph or what ever. protect the young ones by age appropriate filter of nudes. as i said above pornography should not be on DA  where young people surf and browse art. and there is a difference.!!!
#3 not so far.
#4 thats a broad question for example if a site says it inappropriate i would honor thier request, however i would not change my work. it mine not yours i wont post it on your site. see ya round. / no i havent heard of that  happening
#5 No
muck1 Featured By Owner 10 hours ago
Forget the role of the internet as this debate is quite timeless — and the answer has always been the same, I'm sure of it.
Take profane murals and explicit frescoes in Rome 2000 years ago.
Take pornographic carvings in Paris 1000 years ago (there was even a flourishing black market for those! :D).
Take erotic novels in London 250 years ago.
It is wise not to rub children's noses into such content but should they get to see explicit material by mere chance it doesn't mean the end of the world *if* their parents did do their job and taught their kids how to handle inappropriate content responsibly. With that said dA can't be drawn on to compensate for a parent's shortcomings in that matter.

There's a certain irony in the fact that the only topic addressed in here is the line between erotic art and pornography. What of gore, violence, what of macabre themes and politically extreme content? If one can dent a child's psyche so can the other. If one can't, then so can't the other.

Having said that, I'm totally against modernity's "extended" definition of art. While reading these words you might feel tempted to challenge me for a better definition of artistic value or you might want to question my skills as a hobbyist but in truth the only thing I have to say is this: Everyone has their personal "bottom line" for a distinction between art and no-art. When asked if the result of a dog defecating on a flowering meadow did pass for art, even a certain famous artist who had previously sold a dog-dirt besmeared chair for a sculpture replied with an emphatic "no". Many say it's necessary to define art without any objective characteristics whatsoever as art should become more "democratic" (in fact it already is since everyone can engage in arts these days). The subjective art concept however entails that a chair with dog shit on it has the same artistic value as Michelangelo's David. I cannot believe that. I don't want to believe that. Long story short, if dA decided to implement certain quality standards I wouldn't mind. Nowhere else on this website is the spectrum of quality as wide as when it comes to adult content.

There's a painting by the well-known long-term member Jana Schirmer that perfectly illustrates all the various facets of this debate.
(NSFW :redalert: )…

Some people say it's hideous. Some people say it's gorgeous. Everyone agrees it's well done.

Then there's a certain dA member the works of whom I don't even want to link: A woman who continously uploads tasteless nude "selfies" of her wrinkled body that defy all standards even of beginner photography skills. Call me elitist if you will, I don't think what that member does qualifies as art either way. I think it's her intention to provoke or she's terribly fond of herself. It matters not. What I argue that it matters is "lifeblood" if I may say so. I've often found myself admiring works that were ignored or criticized by the community. I admired them because even if they weren't flawless or had odd themes they gave solid proof of deliberation, enjoyment of work and the artist's genuine interest in 1. the audience, 2. the subject and 3. the technique. That's precisely why I like "Raupture" even though I'm unsure what to make of the depicted scene.

Now let me get back to the original question: There are good nudes. There a bad nudes. I wouldn't sob myself to sleep if the dA team began to delete the bad nudes the likes of which in my eyes don't qualify as art and don't belong here. All the same I don't think that mature content should be censored right away or officially shunned. Ere I cast a final vote I'd like to see this debate extended to all subjects that could be inappropriate for minors as only then a community-wide consensus can be found.
Falco-Tinnunculus Featured By Owner 10 hours ago
I have no problem with artistic nudes. But I really dislike porn, objectifying and oversexualizing of human body. For me, these two categories are distinct. I have seen a picture of my favourite anime character depicted as a sex toy even when she was completely dressed. But the figure and face expression were causing this effect. And of course, i have seen plenty of pictures of completely naked people, that were simply beautiful.
In art, nudity can represent simply the beauty of human body, or naturalness, purity, vulnerability, truth, intimity, and also sexuality, but sexuality is not the only meaning.  And when dealing with sexuality, there is a great difference between discreetly erotic nude and porn. At least for me, but I know that the border is individual. Artistic nude can be erotic, but not bluntly, the erotic should be partly shrouded in mystery, it should have aesthetic value, more meaning than just erotic, etc. Porn is just a porn, with only meaning to cause erotic excitement to the seer.
I take naked body, male or female, young or old, as natural. I am not comfortable with pictures showing genitals, but I don't support distinguishing permissible and prohibited pictures only according to visible parts of body. The border between porn and artistic nude is not in centimeters of skin, but in something less definable but more obvious.
As for children, I am not sure if a look on an a naked non-erotically depicted human body will harm them more than the hypocritical pretending that a human body is something dirty, obscene and offensive. But for this reason, I personally dislike depicting artificially modified bodies as an ideal of beauty, but I don't take it as an issue for censorship.

1. Maybe I don't see nudity as a problem here in dA, because I usually browse only daily deviations, sometimes undiscovered deviations, but rarely what's hot :D
I have never been a man nor lesbian, but I think I would have same opinions if I were.
2. I am afraid that it is impossible to draw a simple and strict line between permissible and prohibited pictures. I hope a wise person as a censor can distinguish between porn, that is prohibited in dA, and artistic nude better than any definition.
3. No.
4. How should the artist react? Take it easy. When the owners of the webpage allow people to post their pictures here, they have also the right to censor some of them.
5. I don't know. I have never been in such situation.
DreamsOfGems Featured By Owner Edited 10 hours ago  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
  1. Do you think there is too much nude subject matter on deviantART or is it a non-issue for you?  How much do you think your gender or sexual preferences might influence your answer?
    Too much nude subject matter, nope. And even if they are by statistics, does not affect me. I do admit that I have subjective opinions because I am a woman, but I regard those opinions as REALLY subjective thus it is none of everyone's business, and I don't need to blurt them out even when I disagree on something.
  2. When is censorship of art permissible?   Where would you draw the line?  What rational rule could you offer as a practical guideline?
    I don't think "art" should be censored. I wouldn't offer anything as a practical guideline except for the artist to put their art in the proper categories and tags. I don't know if DA has an automatic filter the moment a person filled out their date of birth and the system detected that he/she is under 13 or 18 years old, though. If the date of birth and the year were made into a required field, the filter can be applied automatically and the people above those age can just simply choose the filter of mature content to be on/off (I don't know if DA has done this because I am not in that age range anymore and haven't heard of such filters being applied to a certain age limit entered in the data). I am a parent, I still have objections in my youngest son looking at mature contents (he is still 6 years old) but mainly because I fear that he is not able to tell the difference between art vs porn vs plain sickening photos. To him those are just information - and I believe that a lot of children under the age 18 who are still perceiving nude art as porn. Content filtering being done against the filled out age perhaps would be the best way but again kids can cheat their age out. This issue is the parents' responsibility - not the community.

  3. Have you ever had a work of art you created censored or banned in any way?
    Nope, nudity is not my medium.

  4. If an artist really believes in what he or she has created, how should the artist respond to censorship of that art?  Have you been made aware of an instance of “art suppression” via the Internet?
    Yes I am aware actually because my country imposed a very strict rule about nudity. This includes everything, including art. DeviantArt got away from my country's censorship because perhaps the site crawler haven't reach this place yet, ha ha, and for that I am grateful. But I don't really know how the artist should respond because I have seen so many nude artists got censored in my country and they did not react to it in any harsh way - usually the censorship imposed on them just made their name more famous. As for those beginner artists .... well perhaps they just need to properly tag and categorized the work, or take it elsewhere where there are no censorship.
  5. Would you ever suggest to another artist that he or she should tone a work of art down or agree to the censorship of an art object in a specific situation?
    I wouldn't suggest to tone down. They are what they are and their perceptions are actually none of my business. What I see in DA is not actually "too much nudity" or sexual-oriented context, but what I see lately are tasteless porn. In my opinion, there should be a degree of "effort" being put in a photo or drawing to make it as an art. What I see these days are people just snapped away a picture of a woman with bare vagina, in poor lighting, no effects, no photoset and even no attempt to edit the photo to make it look interesting and focused, and they just slapped it down in DA and made it as "art". But I question the artist themselves rather than their objects - and I don't bother commenting or even observe any further, or even reporting them. If they produce bad work it is their business, and there will be people rejecting to their idea of art and there will always be people who accepts them. That's the way life is. An effective "warning" for an artist's work will always be the people's reaction to it.

    To have us agree or disagree on censorship is actually a difficult thing because I believe all people here appreciate the freedom to create. I don't mind showing the nude art pics on this journal to my eldest son but I would definitely hide them from my youngest. It is up to me to filtered out the information and not up to any other people. So I think this would be a very difficult thing to resolve globally - and I believe that each person should just act according to what they believe is the right thing to do. The problem in dealing with this in DA actually lies on the age of artists entering the site. If the nude contents became too worrying then DA should banned every artist who is under 18 years old ... and I don't think that they want to do that :) . And if they don't want to, it is fine by me. 
Arcenild Featured By Owner 10 hours ago
Good Nudes but not pornographic, just artistique.
KiKurenai Featured By Owner Edited 10 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
1. (there is TOO MUCH nudes pictures. as a young women it is not the happiest of thoughts to see women taking sexual selfies, and such media just to get attention. Nudes as a message to society and for a cause are inspirational but see another young female in her undergarments reads the wrong message.)
Art that is a nude in photography as shown above is elegant but some are borderline. they have the modesty of relaying the message with out over exposure
2. art is in the eye of the beholder: yes. There is a line of sexual interuption and a nude art. Lots of exposed pictures are on deviant and should be removed. We as young and older people don't need to be exposed to this when it is not productive. there should a be a defined line.
3. never surpression is still in this modern day because as this society evolves, we still hold values to things that are taboo, yet we override this with shouts of 'free speech and expression' and the screams of those whom oogle at this media.
5.  yes but there should be a more defined filter and warning. many bypass the system
shyanne4cad Featured By Owner 11 hours ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
  1. There is no issue with it for me.  My gender and sexual preferences have no influence on my opinion, as far as I am aware.  
  2. This is the tricky question.  Certain artwork that can be considered damaging shouldn't be on this site.  By that I mean child porn, bestiality, rape, ect.  A lot of people commenting hold the opinion that artworks that are sexual in nature need to be censored, but I disagree.  Erotic art can still be interpreted as art, and so long as it isn't damaging (like rape art) it's fine.  I may not like it but I'm not being forced to look. 
  3. I don't draw or photograph that kind of stuff.  No.
  4. It depends on the reasoning for the censorship.  I've also been aware of art suppression from outside of the internet, but it did help clarify a few questions I had.
  5. Uh, no.  I don't think I ever would.
Add a Comment: