While art of classical antiquity reveled in nude sculptures and adornments it was during the middle ages and the dominance of Christian doctrine that the nude debased and viewed as an unnecessary expressive form for religious ideals. It’s no surprise then that during the Renaissance revival of humanist principals included the reemergence of the nude as cultural expression. Researchers note however that there was a contrasting difference the northern Renaissance, exemplified by Belgium and the southern, in Italy, as the colder northern areas clung to pre-Renaissance ideals of ‘clothed’ expression. From the advent of Botticelli’s Primavera in 1480 the nude re-emerged as a significant cultural form, yet because of the church mores it was required to be adorned in religious imagery in order to pass as art. As a result we see paintings such as van Eyck’s Adam and Eve or The Adoration of the Lamb displaying nude themes but cloaked in religious overtones. It’s not until Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel that the “the word Beauty was once again associated with the Nude”.
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