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Why Celebrities Pose Nude for Paintings

Updated on April 21, 2011

In an interesting way art and celebrities are connected, with a twist of sensuousness. The art world is increasingly becoming fascinated with celebrity nudes. For every artist, nudes have a different interpretation. Nudes are not necessarily always about seduction and male gaze. Many modern artists are not even willing to use the word nudity; rather they prefer the use of the word “Bare Art”!

Nude paintings have been a part of the art world for ages! Works by Rubens, Titian, and Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" come to mind when we think about nudity as an art form. The nude has become an enduring genre of representational art, especially painting, sculpture and photography. It depicts people without clothes, usually with stylistic and staging conventions that distinguish the artistic elements (such as innocence, or similar theatrical / artistic elements) of being nude with the more provocative state of being naked. A nude figure is one, such as a goddess or a man in ancient Greece, for whom the lack of clothing is its usual condition, so that there is no sexual suggestiveness presumed.

Recently, artist Bruce Elliot’s nude portrait of Sarah Plain was hung in the Chicago tavern and became a “sensational” work of art! Last year, Hollywood actor Keira Knightly posed nude for artist Mitch Griffith and justified in an interview, “He’s a highly respected nude painter.” Mitch Griffith says, “There is nothing like nudity. It’s bare art. Nude is when the model sheds clothes, I do bare figures in their natural form as they help me express emotions like tension, sadness and happiness better."

Nude paintings are especially popular with women. They project a feeling of sensuality and eroticism that goes beyond being a sexual object, as many of the more famous painters in the world have created fine works of art of men and women in the nude. Nudity is an art form even in the time of the Greeks. This can be seen in the various statues and paintings created by sculptors and painters which depicted the Gods.

Artists have a unique fascination for doing nude celebrities. A 1951 oil painting of Sir Sean Connery in the nude fetches handsome price. Actor Naomi Watts shed her clothes to be painted by artist David Bromley. Other actors painted by the same artist in nude form have been Kylie Minogue and Megan Gale. But are celebrities excited about commissioning their nude paintings, viewing it as the ultimate compliment? Says artist David Bromley, “Every beautiful woman wants to be an artist’s muse.”

Historically, Hollywood divas have been a symbol of erotica! From Betty Grabel, Jane Russel, Ann Sheridan, Ava Gardner to Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe have all been painted in the nude. Interestingly, when the flighty Duchess of Alba jilted her lover Goya, he depicted his former lover in the nude in 1797, which was daring and perhaps the first time a famous Spanish painter had dared paint an identifiable nude woman for public display.

For the rich, it’s an arty indulgence. Many celebrities commission huge money to artists to do their nude portraits that adorn the walls of their personal bedrooms. It also seals their place in posterity. For instance, Margaret Rose Perenchio, a portraitist, has recently done a semi-nude of Salma Hayek, which hangs in Salma Hayek’s home. Britney Spears also commissioned a nude painting of herself to “immortalize herself”.

The world of fine art seeks to explore the beauty of a female body since time immemorial. And beautiful women try to rediscover themselves in this unique way! They love to be engraved in the mind of people by being painted nude. This makes their appeal immortal. It’s no wonder why celebrities increasingly want to be painted nude rather than being photographed nude, if not for money. So far as fine art is concerned “painting” is generally considered superior to “photography” and being “painted” in the nude makes one feel like a historical character!


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    • andycool profile image

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      Thank you so much anusha15 for your detailed feedback. I really appreciate your point of view... thanks again!

      Love & Peace! - Andy

    • anusha15 profile image

      Anusha Jain 6 years ago from Delhi, India

      I feel that Art and artist at one point just raise above all the trivialities. There comes a stage where the artist wants to express with any way that's possible, and the bare art's expression - with all its mystic beauty and unexplored aura -- is indeed very strong.

      I enjoyed the read thoroughly and liked specially the way you kept your readers waiting for your own opinion till the end. The pictures were beautiful and aptly placed to suit that area's thoughts in particular.

    • andycool profile image

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      @ bbnix -- Thank you for the compliment!

      @ Cogerson -- Thanks, I appreciate your comment Cogerson! I'm glad you supported the hub guys.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great hub....your subjects you pick to write about are always fascinating...voted up....great job Andy

    • bbnix profile image

      bbnix 6 years ago from Southern California

      I'll have to work on a theme of eyes, my favorite part of a woman, and you my dear, with you avatar, are a distraction - you have amazing eyes....but, that said, I do love your writing too... ;)

    • andycool profile image

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      @ Mrs. J. B. -- Thank you for loving my hub! I love your work too, you know that! - Andy

      @ DaveysRecipeRead -- Thanks a lot for your supportive comment! I'm grateful to you guys! - Andy

    • DaveysRecipeRead profile image

      DaveysRecipeRead 6 years ago

      So true. If captured by a good artist there are far more possibilities that painted art offer over photography (which is fantastic for freezing historical moments and elevating them to artistic heights). Great stuff!

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      Beautifully written, well researched and very enjoyable. I love your hub!

    • andycool profile image

      andycool 6 years ago from the U.S.

      Thank you so much bbnix for your compliment! I'm going to read your hub as soon as possible. Love & Peace! - Andy

    • bbnix profile image

      bbnix 6 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you Ms. Andy' for a very special hub.

      I myself have been quite tormented by the conflicting notions of illustrating, either by painting or my sculpture, the many exquisite complexities of women, and the countering powerful issues of their all-too-often objectification.

      For myself, it would be a gift to attempt a beautiful, yet deeply personally representation, whether clothed or not, of their sensibilities, compassion, and breathtaking empathy, not to mention shear beauty.

      All that said, however, I've been thinking of hiring a model, and pursuing some pieces that try to dispel most impressions of anything other than tremendous respect and adoration.

      I did recently attempt my first piece of sculpture of a woman dancer, together with a man dancer, of which I wrote a hub, "called "Dancers" (go figure), and I had a very nice response, but that was just from photographs.

      Anyway, a beautiful piece of writing, and voted so...

      Thanks again,