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In the Buff
On Nudity

In the Buff
  • The Bible Latin Vulgate (1462 Edition) (by )
  • The Evolution of the Olympic Games 1829 ... (by )
  • Women in love (by )
  • Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasu... (by )
  • The Canterbury Tales (by )
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The subject of nudity is mentioned in the Gutenberg Bible (1462 historic edition), which is the first major book printed using mass-produced movable metal type in Europe. In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve are unashamed of their naked bodies until they eat the forbidden fruit and are expelled from paradise.

The subject of nudes has been widely explored by both scientists and artists. The study of human anatomy dates back to the time of the early Egyptians. Leonardo Da Vinci is also renowned for the study of human anatomy. Many artists also chose nudes as their subjects. There were realist depictions created by Gustave Courbet, loosely rendered paintings by Auguste Rodin, and abstractions done by Paul Cezanne. As for science, the study of human anatomy has long been a part of the traditional medical curriculum.
History also recalls that in the earliest days of the Olympics, the Greek athletes competed nude—a practice believed to encourage appreciation of the male body. It was also regarded as a tribute to the gods.
In more contemporary times, nudity has become a theme in TV shows such as “Naked and Afraid” and “Dating Naked.”  Even the ubiquitous Starbucks logo has links with nudity. An earlier version of the iconic logo featured a topless mermaid—a nod to the seafaring history of the brand’s home town of Seattle.

In decades past the naked body was regarded with much more modesty, but in modern times, nudity has gone more mainstream. Despite concerns about inappropriate content, there’s been a rise in the number of selfies (some nude), which circulate social media.
Scenes of nudity are included in Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence. At a lakeside picnic, Ursula and Gudrun swim in the nude. A lounging nude appears on some of the previous covers that graced John Clelan’s erotica/romance book, Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure. There’s also the admired body of Alisoun—the beautiful, young woman in Geoffrey Chaucer’s "The Miller's Tale" in The Canterbury Tales.

By Regina Molaro

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