March 06, 2007

We're Going To Keep Him Like This As Long As Possible

I recently checked out a book on the history of art for the seven year old and I to look at. We were looking particularly at an ancient Greek statue of a warrior and talking about how good sculptors studied muscles and bones and other parts of the human body to make such perfect sculptures. This was a bit of cross-over between art and science, where we had been learning about muscles.

The Lad and I flipped through more pages, admiring various pieces of art, until we came to a sketch of some painters sitting in a studio painting a nude model.

"Is that supposed to be a live model?"

"Yes," I admitted.

"But...That's INDECENT!!!"

"Well, um, yes." I didn't want to be a prude about these things and I don't think that one should avert the eyes from every naked painting at the art museum, but well a bunch of guys sitting around painting an unclothed female isn't something one can call exactly decent.

I told him he was right, that there were some times and places nudity was appropriate -- like in the shower. "But no one is watching me when I'm alone in there." Or a husband and wife can see each other in a state of undress. "But none of those men in the picture are married to that girl."

Too true.

We discussed how frequently there are photos made that are inappropriate and designed to cause feelings that are not properly directed at the people in the photos. We talked about the right time and place for these feelings and for nudity in general. I told my beliefs on the subject and he seemed satisfied.

I'm never thrilled to have these little chats, opening up the seamier side of the world to my little innocents, however I'm glad that they do remain, thus far, relatively pure of mind and that they see indecency where I had begun to overlook it.


So where did y'all come down on live models for creating art? (Just curious.)

Posted by: patricia at March 6, 2007 01:02 PM

It's not something I'd ever thought about or considered a problem before. In college persons caught skinny dipping were required to report for modeling sessions with the art department and I'd always thought it just and funny.

I'm not ready to say that people should be gazing upon some painting by Rubens and I still Michelangelo's David is marvelous, but The Boy did make me think about it all more. I'm not sure that nude models are truly a "decent" thing.

But the artist class has never been one to go along with good morals and decency -- now has it?

Posted by: Jordana at March 6, 2007 01:39 PM

I know what you mean. Mayhem #1 copied a painting for her most recent class, but she told Mayhem #2 she shouldn't go looking into that painter's work because alot of them were nudes. It amazes me how much she tries to take care of her little sister. Her painting wasn't nude. It was of an elegant couple dancing in formal attire on what looked like a wet surface. I love it and it's for Mr. Mayhem and me.

Posted by: Mercy at March 7, 2007 05:01 AM

In retrospect, surely Sewanee's "skinny-dippers must model nude" punishment was just an urban myth. Or rural myth, I mean. They didn't really do that, did they?

I believed it at the time, but now I'm not so sure.

Posted by: NBS at March 7, 2007 01:04 PM

NBS -- maybe it was an urban (rural) legend. I can't think of any examples that weren't hearsay. Of course, I never went swimming in Lake Cheston, clothed or otherwise, so what do I know?

Posted by: Jordana at March 7, 2007 01:32 PM

One time I heard tell of some folks who were going skinny dipping at Lake Cheston, and I skeedadled over there, stole their clothes, and hid them under the sofa at the French House.

I miss college.

Posted by: NBS at March 8, 2007 11:33 AM

my answer to a friend's child that was wondering why there were so many naked pictures after we invited to join us for family art day at the museum:

"artist's try to pait or sculpt the most beautiful things they can think of, and when God made men and women's bodies, he made them to be one of the most beautiful things on earth - so it only makes sense that artists would want to create art with God's most beautiful creation it it."

Posted by: amy at March 8, 2007 06:32 PM

When I was taking drawing lessons at El Centro Junior College in Dallas we had a nude model for a day.

Unless a person's cranked up in some other direction, it's just a difficult exercise in rendering line and form.

Posted by: Janis Gore at March 8, 2007 08:01 PM