studiotwentysix2 the art + design of tom davie

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The art of naked vs. nude


I recently came across this article from the St. Petersburg Times, which attempts to broach the questions of “what is art?” and “what distinguishes naked from nude?”

The focus of the article is the 1993 Michel Comte photograph of model Carla Bruni. The author seems to jump around a bit trying to define art and nakedness, sourcing several art historical references. While that is all fine and well, it seems to me the larger issue is not the naked vs. nude debate at all, but rather the importance of an image of a well-known model, who, since the time of its creation, has become the First Lady of France.

The author seems somewhat shocked that a photograph estimated to be valued at $4,000, sold for approximately $91,000. The selling price was not due to the pose or photographer, but almost certainly because it is an image with potential cultural and historical value — depending of course upon the outcome of the Sarkosy reign. While the purchase price might be viewed as a risk, the future potential payoff could be phenomenal, as I couldn't imagine the cost of a similar image of Eva Perón or Jackie Kennedy.

I liked that the article touched-on several major philosophical art questions, I’m just not convinced that it fully addresses any of them.

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