With the advent of Christianity, the nude form was suppressed and it was not until the Renaissance, when artists looked to antiquity for inspiration, that the nude form came in vogue once again. The period between the 15th -17th century saw some of the most renowned works of nudes come into being. Kenneth Clark2 (1956) whose seminal work on the female nude gave way to much animated discussion on this forgotten topic, credits the Renaissance with giving an impetus to this form, saying “In the greatest age of painting, the nude inspired the greatest work”. The nude female form continues to inspire artists and art lovers to this day and many ground breaking studies reveal the various nuances of female depiction, its metamorphosis over the ages and the reaction it evokes, ranging from awe to a total denial of its worth as a subject.
The words nude and naked are often interchanged for each other, but the difference in their meaning is so wide that the word nude invariably evokes the image of a person without clothes but it has an aesthetic ring to it. Naked on the other hand can mean intolerance and a subsequent discarding of clothes or even to a cult of nudists who exhort people to give up clothing. To put forth the idea more clearly, we can use Kenneth Clark’s definition of the terms, where he says “To be naked is to be deprived of our clothes, and…. the embarrassment…in that condition. The word nude carries …no uncomfortable overtone…it projects…a balanced, prosperous, and confident body: the body re-formed.” The author has delineated the female nude in conformity with religious, cultural and philosophic tenets of classical and modern Western societ