Beyond The Skin Of 20th Century Artists

Beyond The Skin Of 20th Century Artists

By: mediodigital -

Nudity whitman

For centuries, nudity as a form of artistic interpretation and representation has been in the eye of the storm. The on-going debate has been thoroughly discussed by the intellectual sphere, art critics, and by the artists themselves, who use it in their own creations. Nowadays, the act of looking at a naked body does not raise controversy in aesthetes nor in the rest of the audience.

Why? Because the moral compass of today’s modern society has shifted to a less conservative area and where the quest for an aesthetic vision based on nudity has become a recurring theme. As a result, some artists have excessively made use of this motif in their works.

Throughout history, nudity has been explored in many ways and given different meanings. The Western approach to art history places nakedness at its epicenter, which is seen in the countless sculptures, paintings, murals, sketches, among others.

The interpretation that comes from admiring a naked body has evolved from an organic and natural appreciation to a taboo. The naked body holds a wealth of meaning, from the connection to the divine to earthly pleasures. Unfortunately, it has also been exploited by scandal, censorship, and even pornography. To purists, the problem with nudity lies on the fact that it has been used as a weapon of discourse. The body can speak about violence, sexuality, politics, feminism, vulnerability, and defiance.

Nudity warholAndy Warhol

Nudity basquiat bedBasquiat

Nudity basquiat smokingBasquiat


One issue remains unexplored: what about the nakedness of artists? We are not talking about their famous, political, aesthetic, or metaphysical works, we are referring to their naked skin.


The way artists experiment with their nudity has always raised questions. It is highly intriguing to see them so exposed because we are unaccustomed to observing their vulnerability outside their work. For some strange reason, their bare skin opens up a door that leads to the discovery of their passions, fears, insecurities, and strengths. As a consequence, we feel more connected to them and their experiences. We can go so far as to say that we know them far intimately than any of their lovers, or friends ever did.

 Nudity kahlo

 Frida Kahlo

Nudity kahlo braidsFrida Kahlo

“There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the universe than the nude human body.”— Robert Henri.

 Nudity siqueiros

David Alfaro Siqueiros

Nudity picassoPablo Picasso

“I look at a nude. There are myriads of tiny tints. I must find the ones that will make the flesh on my canvas live and quiver.” —Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

 Nudity haring

Keith Haring

Nudity Keith HaringKeith Haring

“The Nakedness of Woman is the work of God.” –William Blake.

Nudity capote

Truman Capote

Nudity stravinsky

“Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.” —John Berger.


The body as an object of study, as an alternative to connect emotions, goes beyond the skin. Nudity is in many cases a path in which passion, vulnerability, and equality collide.