At first glance I was excited to see an article about the nude figure and its relationship to the artist, as I use the nude in my own work, but then realized it was just a superficial jab at what the figure represents in art (“Art Beat,” Sept. 4). The subtitle -- “Nude portraiture really isn’t about sex” -- struck me as strange, because all of my favorite figurative artists use the figure to represent human emotion, the most dominant being sex.
To say that nude portraiture is not about sex is to not look back in art history or at current figurative artists. Ummm ... Courbet’s “The Origin of the World!” A majority of the artists from the impressionist era used prostitutes as their models, even using the brothel as a popular subject matter. Most of Degas’ nudes take place in brothels or other intimate sexual settings.
When there is a nude figure in front of me in my studio, although I might not want to jump on them for sex, there is still sexual tension. Here lays a naked person vulnerable and subservient to the needs of the artist. It is not simply just rendering the proportions of the figure, like the article alluded. There is a deeper psyche that takes place and the dialog between the artist and model can be ... sexual.
Sara Long, Trinidad
Sweet Spot:*Sara Long wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week, despite missing the tongue in the writer’s cheek. Good news! New Bon Boniere sundae coupons are in! We’ll be filling the backlog this week. Thanks for your patience, past winners.*