Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Nudes in sacred art convey 4 different types of symbolism

By Philip Kosloski
Censored for contemporary audiences: Michelangelo's "The Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden"
The Sistine Chapel enthralls thousands of tourists a year with its amazing beauty. What many are surprised to find, though, is the number of naked bodies on its walls. The Sistine Chapel is of course not alone in its presentation of nudity. Why did so many artists use nudes in Christian artwork? First there is nuditas naturalis, representing the natural state of humanity before the Fall, often depicted in scenes connected to Eden or Paradise. Then there is nuditas temporalis, depicting poverty, sometimes voluntary in nature, and the reliance of humanity on God for all that we receive. Third there is nuditas virtualis, symbolizing purity and innocence. Last of all there is nuditas criminalis, representing the horror of lustful passions and vanity, as in pornography. [More]
"The Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden" at Sistine Chapel (1509-10) by Michelangelo Buonarroti (b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)