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Nude Paintings

The nude has a wide range of meanings in art. For one, it might symbolize heroism. In Michelangelo’s famous sculpture, "David," 1501-04, nudity references the ancient Greek custom for athletes to practice and compete in the nude – David is heroically nude. Nudity can also mean innocence. Michelangelo placed putti in the Sistine chapel ceiling. The playful creatures lighten the mood, bringing a sense of fun and play.

A nude person could also symbolize weakness or shame, such as a naked old man, or naked Adam and Eve covering themselves with leaves. In "The Garden of Earthly Delights," c. 1500-05 by Hieronymous Bosch, the left panel shows Adam and Eve, innocently nude before the fall from grace. In the middle panel, the naked people have fallen away from God. At right, in the hell scene, the nakedness is that of the abject broken beings.

The nude can also be a symbol of erotic pleasure. Titian’s nude oil painting of 1538, "Venus of Urbino," conveys a frank message from Guidobaldo II della Rovere, the Duke of Urbino, to his new wife about his expectation for their marriage.


Quick Facts

  • On May 13, 2010, Phillips New York sold Tom Wesselmann, "Sunset Nude (Light)," 2004, for $914,500
  • On November 19, 2014, Bonhams New York sold George Bellows, "Two Women," 1924, for $1.27 million
  • On July 2, 2015, Sotheby’s London sold George Condo,"Nude on Purple," 1957, for £203,000

Recommended Items at Auction

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Elliot Torrey (CA,VT,1867-1949) oil painting
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Elliot Torrey (CA,VT,1867-1949) oil painting
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Joseph Bowler (NY,SC,1928-2017) oil painting
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Andrew Conklin (IL,b 1961) oil painting
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Fernando Botero Oil on Canvas
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Antique early 20C American oil painting signed
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Antique early 20C American oil painting signed
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Antique 19C European oil painting
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Giuseppe Armani Signed & Numbered Giclee On Canvas
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Chapman Kelley (TX,b 1932) oil painting
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Chapman Kelley (TX,b 1932) oil painting
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Alain Bonnefoit (France,1937-?) oil painting
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Alain Bonnefoit (France,1937-?) oil painting
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Giuseppe Armani Signed & Numbered Giclee On Canvas
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Eric Gibbons (NJ,b 1966) oil painting
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Eric Gibbons (NJ,b 1966) oil painting
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Karl Foster (PA,b 1933) pastel painting
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Karl Foster (PA,b 1933) pastel painting
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Sellers Who Sell Nude Paintings


Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Roseberys

Roseberys

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

De Vuyst

De Vuyst