Would you participate in nude drawing?

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I had troubles posting this as a poll yesterday, so I am posting it as a manual poll.

Would you participate in nude drawing?

1. I would model.
2. I would draw.
3. I would model and/or draaw.
4. I would do neither.

48 thoughts on “Would you participate in nude drawing?

  1. I would draw. My husband does this regularly and he was not long ago the Bishop of our ward. We do not have a problem with nudity in art, but we do have a nude painting in our house that causes a stir with ward members sometimes. BYU doesn’t allow their art students to have live nudes in drawing class – which is weird.

  2. LOL Does a person really need to learn to draw those parts of the body that we generally keep covered?

    I’d go with number 4 too.

  3. I ultimately think you have to draw from the nude to really understand the body. My husband is an artist/illustrator and he regularly draws from a nude model, BUT this takes place in a classroom and is very professional. Actually, he is a professor and has taught this class, so he calls models up to sometimes pose nude, sometimes clothed. I should also mention he is our EQ pres and has a current temple recommend. I don’t have a huge problem with it because nothing else has come from it other then beautiful paintings and a better understanding of the human form.

    Personally though, I always have the question in my mind,,,,would I let my daughter be one of those nude models? The answer is NO. But the models are also someone’s daughter. Anyway, I guess it comes to personal choice. Think about doctors. They see nude bodies all the time.

  4. I would be more likely to draw than model. Not sure why though. I walk naked every morning in front of other guys in the locker room. Granted, I don’t sit on a stool for an hour with all of them staring at me.

  5. 4 for me,

    Why would anyone have a portrait of a nude person in their house? I remember watching Cher’s last farewell concert on tv a few years ago and she came out with a very skimpy outfit and my then 10 year old granddaughter asks me if I think she is dressed inappropriately and I said well uhhhh yes I guess she is.. I had been paying attention to her singing not her costume.. a few minutes later she says… Nana shouldn’t you be changing the channel….. that brought me up to a start..

    My point is if a 10 year old child thinks something skimpy is inappropriate I would think having a portrait of a nude person in my living room would be inappropriate. How would you explain to your young children/grandchildren/yw/ coming into your home that they have to wear one piece bathing suits to remind themselves their bodies are a temple but we can have nudity hanging about our house…

    To me IMHO.. it’s called double standards.

  6. Re: #11,

    In many ways, a celebrity in a very skimpy outfit is less modest than a simple nude painting. Modesty isn’t simply a matter of how much clothing you have on.

  7. I think it’s interesting that we are supposed to avoid pornography–unless we’re artists, when nudity is not bad, and definitely not pornographic, because we have to paint nude pictures, so we have to use nude, live models, so it’s all right for us then–as long as it’s only done for business, because then no thought images will remain in our minds. (Maybe it’s just because I don’t know what pornography is, or is not, or what the fine line between is/is not is. Should I have had my wife pose for an artist when she was young, because then it would’ve been art, whereas if I’d have taken her picture it would’ve been pornography? Oops, I forgot we have a porcelain “Little Mermaid” we bought in Denmark–but it’s art! When we go to Italy, we’ll buy a “David”–because it’s art.)
    So, then, if we are rap singers, filthy language is all right for us because it’s essential to the business–as long as it’s done only in the business; if we tend bar, then liquor consumption is okay as long as it’s part of doing business; if we entertain professionally then wearing immodest clothing is all right for us, since it’s a costume and therefore essential to doing business–but it’s wrong for the rest of you to wear immodest clothing, unless you’re swimming, sunbathing, or playing beach volleyball. In my current condition (with an outbreak of shingles; scars from a triple bypass, hernia and gall bladder surgeries; and, generally just being ugly–approaching old age is my excuse), no one will ever see me in a bikini! The main thing is to make sure that we know when, and where, to draw the line when it concerns us, so we are certain that we are designated as being set apart from the rest of the crowd, so that everyone else knows that what we’re doing is all right.
    In 1991, when we were in Russia with the Tab Choir, we went to the Hermitage, one of the world’s great art museums. There we saw all of these larger-than-life paintings of non-starving women, without any clothing to hide their beauty. I saw my wife there many times–the faces were wrong, but the rest was correct. What does this have to do with anything current? Nothing, it’s just to show that she’s now a world class beauty in the world of great art.

  8. “Why would anyone have a portrait of a nude person in their house? “

    Maybe they find it engaging?
    Some of the best and interesting photographs I’ve ever seen involve various stages of nudity.
    I don’t see any problem with having art that celebrates the human form in any condition.

  9. Re: #14,

    Your premise (as implied in your opening sentence) is that nudity is equivalent to pornography. While pornography typically involves nudity, I would argue that nudity us not always or necessarily pornographic. That point is essential to this debate.

  10. But Steve M, where is the line drawn?

    For example, any naked picture of a child, found on a computer would be considered child pornography, right? What’s the differentiation between ‘tasteful’ nudity and pornography?

  11. At what point on the continuum does “avoid the very appearance of evil” come into play? How are the rest of life’s observers supposed to understand what we’re doing, unless they have a minutely-detailed scorecard showing what is allowed and for whom? Are they supposed to innately know that if he/she is doing it, it must be okay for him/her even if it isn’t okay for me to do it–otherwise, a lot of people are going to be disturbed, and some will step over the line on other things, after rationalizing it as being okay because such-and-such is okay for so-and-so, so why can’t I have an exemption also, because I deserve one just as much as so-and-so does? If, as a teenager, I saw a nude picture on display in my bishop’s house, and I had a problem with pornography, were he to counsel me about it I think his words may have little or no effect in turning me from my problem. I’m sure my first sentence above would come into my mind in flashing lights. Everyone has art turn into pornography at a different point along the continuum–will someone tell me where the correct position is? Is it the same as what the prophet says it is? Why, or why not? And, does it make a difference in the Eternal scheme of things?

  12. Re: #18,

    For example, any naked picture of a child, found on a computer would be considered child pornography, right?

    I think legal definitions tend to be narrower than you suggest. For instance, would this be considered child pornography? I doubt it.

    But Steve M, where is the line drawn? . . . What’s the differentiation between ‘tasteful’ nudity and pornography?

    Obviously drawing a line between “acceptable” and “pornographic” imagery is a subjective and often difficult judgment. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a distinction that should not be made. If we aren’t willing to recognize that nudity, under certain circumstances, is not obscene, then absurdity is unavoidable. For instance, without the distinction, the Venus de Milo becomes pornographic. Without the distinction, classical depictions of Adam and Eve become pornographic. Although it may be difficult to articulate why, most of us will agree that these latter two examples of nudity should not be considered pornographic.

    However, I think we can do better than Justice Stewart’s “I know it when I see it” approach. If we pay attention to such factors as context and purpose, and ask such questions as “Does this picture honor and respect the human body, or does it objectify and exploit it?”, then I think we can make sound judgments in a majority of circumstances. This is why most of us are able to distinguish Michelangelo’s David from your average X-rated film.

    Granted, even depictions that are considered tame and non-pornographic by most may be objectionable for someone who is dealing with some type of compulsive pornography-viewing habit (as suggested by the hypothetical example in comment # 19). Perhaps, for that person, the line between art and pornography is going to be a few notches to the side than for me.

    But does that create some type of obligation on artists to refrain from creating nude art, or on others to refrain from displaying nude art? I don’t think so. Should I refrain from buying cookies and ice cream, lest I inadvertently tempt someone with a compulsive binge-eating problem? And while this is neither here nor there–in other words, I really don’t want to thread-jack with this comment–I would suggest that a smart approach to treating porn addiction should be one that helps victims cope with mild, unavoidable exposures to nudity or quasi-nudity without binging, rather than one that depends on their ability to avoid such imagery altogether (and, implicitly, others’ efforts to keep from inadvertently tempting them). Let’s face it–that’s an unrealistic approach in modern society.

    As a final comment, I would like to point out one more imperfection of the “nudity = pornography” paradigm. By focusing too much on the amount of skin shown in a picture, we may overlook the less obvious factors that really make something obscene. For instance, I can guarantee that every model in Maxim magazine is depicted wearing more clothing than the models in this book (don’t worry, the link is safe), yet Maxim is probably much closer to pornography than the book is. Why? Well, because obscenity has more to do with a mere lack of clothing.

    Re: #19,

    Everyone has art turn into pornography at a different point along the continuum–will someone tell me where the correct position is? Is it the same as what the prophet says it is?

    Has Pres. Monson told us where the line is to be drawn? If so, I must have missed that memo.

    Okay, that’s enough out of me for now. Thank you for the indulgence.

  13. ‘At what point on the continuum does “avoid the very appearance of evil” come into play?’

    My opinion of this is that the minute we begin living our lives based on our best guess of how we will be thought of by others, we’ve lost an important part of ourselves.

    Taste is subjective and the better we learn to accept tastes with which we do not agree, the better.

    If we were all to avoid presenting anything which toes the line of acceptance to the public at large, we’d never have some of the greatest works of art.

    I’m pro self expression, even when I’m offended by the display if for no other reason than it gives me an opportunity to examine and reconcile my own prejudices and beliefs.

  14. How about what the Lord thinks of us? I know you won’t necessarily see that point of view, Rick (and I am not saying that is good or bad, I just understand that won’t be your perception), but if we want to do what is expected of us from God, and not just from the world? For me, that’s what the main issue is (and besides, I just feel uncomfortable viewing naked pictures or appearing naked before anyone but my husband…and before anyone says ‘how about your doctor when you give birth?’ No, not then either, since I don’t give birth with a doctor around).

  15. 20 rick:

    “My opinion of this is that the minute we begin living our lives based on our best guess of how we will be thought of by others, we’ve lost an important part of ourselves.”

    Paul has some fantastic advice on this subject:

    “But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a hindrance to the weak. For if someone weak sees you who possess knowledge dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience be “strengthened” to eat food offered to idols? So by your knowledge the weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed. If you sin against your brothers or sisters in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.” (1 Cor. 8:9-12, NETBible)

    Some Saints have very weak consciences with regards to nudity and pornography. The application of this principle is straightforward.

  16. RE: #22

    This comes from the same guy who says “Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?” in 1 Corinthians 9:1 – you might care to note that he was blind at the time.

  17. Poisoning the well?

    Whether you believe him or not, there are plenty who would, and might appreciate a counter to your individualist pop psychology. “I don’t care what anybody else thinks” is in many ways antithetical to the charge to love our neighbors.

  18. I don’t believe I said I don’t care what anybody else thinks – I don’t care what Paul would think; if that’s indeed what he wrote.

    I can love my neighbour without agreeing with his opinions – as a matter of fact I find this particular scenario prevalent in my day-to-day most days. The golden rule is not monopolized by the Christians or Jews. Plenty of cultures follow the practice sans the Old or New testiments.

    I find it interesting that you’d counter my argument for personal taste with an appeal to public opinion. If I am unconvinced that I should care about what people think about my art, what makes you think I’d care what people think of my philosophy?

  19. I find this very interesting.

    I had a friend who was on the brink of divorce due to pornography. Fortunately for her, through a lot of therapy, prayer and communication they worked out their problems and are back on track…may I even say a bit better for it. I think there is a big difference. Nudity was not the root of the problem.

    I stated before that my husband regularly draws from the model both nude and clothes…and I might add they are not always women. I think this is a very personal decision. I totally trust my husband and we have talked at length about pornography. He and I both have an understanding about it and that it is wrong. I don’t consider what he does pornographic. He is actually pretty repulsed by it. We were recently at a museum in town with our kids and of course there were nude sculptures. I was struck by how “normal” the bodies were. No Pam Andersons. My husband has said that it is really hard to draw a woman who has had “adjustments” made because the proportions are all off. It is not natural. Anyway, I have prayed about it and feel that there is no problem between me and the lord and my husband.

    We don’t have nude pictures hanging in our home. My husband has a few books, such as “Anatomy for the artist” and others that we have on a higher shelf just because our children are too young and immature. We do take them to museums though and we discuss what we see. I don’t know. Again, personal choice. We also invite people over that may or may not be comfortable with that sort of thing. But I see no problem in having a tasteful nude in your home. By tasteful I am talking about covering the bits and pieces and hopefully the pose is not in a provacitive way…think Picasso’s Blue Nude.

    Artists look at the body to understand how to use the human form as a vehicle for expression. Norman Rockwell did it to express an America as it should be. The human form has been used for years. It is not a magical creation based on best guesses, but on actual observation. Anyone that tell you different is not an artist.

    Ok, this is long. I just wanted to add also that the model drawing, nude or otherwise, is based on strict rules. You can’t talk to the model. The model’s name is not given out to people. You are in a classroom session. If there is any pervy activity going on, you are promptly kicked out. It is a pretty rudamentary environment. No soft lights, romantic music or poles involved.

  20. JM

    Yes, but who determines that?

    Katie, I don’t know the answer, really, I just don’t know where the line is drawn and who determines that.

  21. Well, I can’t quite agree with that, because I can think of some viewers who would say ‘anything goes’ due to lack of proper judgment. Or as some people in Europe are trying to make it legal to have romantic relationships with children which would mean sexual abuse of children, or child pornography would be ok. Not on my turf!!!!

  22. This is an interesting discussion for me because my daughter wants to be an artist when she grows up (she’s 10 now) but is totally freaked out by the possibility of having to draw nudes, especially from live nude models. She is also freaked out by the possibility of attending BYU. What to do, what to do.

  23. Rick, I have to apologize, and I hope you’ll forgive me. It’s my fault we’re polarized, because I started with faulty assumptions about you. I also mischaracterized your position as not caring what other people think. I’m sorry.

    To all: I think Katie has the right idea. To many, nudes simply aren’t pornographic (such as to her husband). However, recognizing that to many nudes are pornographic, they kindly don’t flaunt their standards, even in their own home.

  24. Hmmm..what must I be avoiding today…bills, housework. Well, here goes. You are right. We don’t have those things up because there are people who would be uncomfortable, including myself to some extent. I have a SIL who is also an artist and she has two paintings of very bare breasted women right next to her door. Yikes…not my cup of tea.

    If I could recommend a book, Undressed Art: Why We Draw by Peter Steinhart. It is a good book about this subject and he talks (not shows) about the difference between what is pornographic and what is a nude.

    But, I also respect people who just feel differently then me here. As for the student who is freaked about the model drawing class, if she goes to BYU the class is not nude, so it should be ok. I asked my husband once about it and he said the first time was a little weird, but then he was looking at the hand and how it related to the arm and the balance in the hips and it became more of a study of the body then anything else. I imagine it is what a medical student might go through the first time they give an exam. Prayer and testimony. If you don’t think it is right for you, don’t do it. For us, it was a different story.

  25. We have a staff person here who is a great artist. Really good. He took an art course and then a few months later we had a staff Christmas party at his house. Well apparently he had taken an art course with a nude model because he had (very proudly) displayed the pictures of a very nude male person (with – ahem – anatomy rather largely displayed) all over his home. Even the most liberal of the staff were put offended. I thought it was very funny the next week to hear some of the staff who had previously repined to me that “anything goes” complain!

  26. I pick #2. I wouldn’t model, clothed or nude. Models give me the heebeegeebees.

    I think Mormons (in general) have an unhealthy relationship with nudity. We emphasize modesty (which is good) but by pushing so hard for modesty it seems as though we have gone to the extreme of concluding that all nudity is bad.

    By brother-in-law who is a doctor (and a very straight-laced Mormon) asked me once about film school. He knew that I watched a lot of art-house films and foreign movies during my coursework and he asked me if it was like looking in a medical book. I realize that, for me, it was. The nudity in film (unless it was hyper-sexual) was part of the art and meaning of the piece. It was often symbolic of something else entirely.

    I would assume that were he give a woman a pelvic exam, it would not have the same effect as watching a pornographic film. Pornography is meant to arouse sexual feeling. Often nudity in art is not and is representative of other things.

  27. In church sunday I was a little bored so I did a lovely pencil sketch of she who must be obeyed. She was nude and facing away from me in said drawing, but alas I had to do it from memory as she is a bit of a stick in the mud and would not pose.

  28. The only thing that keeps me from answering number 3 is that I’m no longer much of an artist, and I think my level of talent wouldn’t warrant bringing in such a model. So I’m going with number 1, on the very shaky assumption that a physique like mine would be wanted for such an exercise.

  29. My option would be #3…Is there a double standard in the North American culture? If nudity is pornography, how do your bloggers feel about National Geographic magazine articles? Is nudity acceptable for other cultures as long as they don’t look like “us”? I had an unusual feeling about the movie Rappa Nui…about the Easter Island history (with some artistic license, I’m sure) I noticed right away that many of the actresses were top-less…but after a short time I got so wrapped up in the story that I didn’t really pay attention to it. Probably the directors intended for that to happen. Similarly, the movie Medicine Man with Sean Connery, there were a number of women that were bare breasted… and yet in neither movie did I feel like I was looking at pornography. Quite frankly, I’d rather my children see this type of nudity than some of the violent, potty-mouthed ka-ka they seem inclined to want to rent from the movie rental place in town.
    It may be that I’m a product of my times (born in 1955) but in my opinion, nudity is not pornography. I believe that if nudity is used to degrade, or belittle a person, particularly against their will,…that’s not so much pornography as just evil.
    I do have some paintings of nudes on my walls…I prefer playful, whimsical images. A sense of humour; warts, wrinkles and all. If we can’t laugh at our flaws, we run the risk of seasoning our lives with too much salt.

  30. no 3 for me – if I would participate in drawing then I should be confident enough to do the same and model for others. If it’s not a sexual thing then I’m not going to be evaluated on the traditional ’10’ scale where I wouldn’t rank too high. I am comfortable bveing nude – I was all day today at home and earlier this week at a beach, a class for art would be no problem.

  31. I would like to model nude. Just for the fact that I wsould then be immortalized in a piece of art that will be here longer than I will.

  32. I have modeled nude, see absolutely nothing wrong with it, and I would draw nude models and have attempted it, but drawing generally just doesn’t work for me. I am neither an exhibitionist nor a voyeur, nor am I afraid of the body I was born with, nor afraid of anyone else’s, and I don’t need to hide behind such silly notions as thinking that nudity must be either voyeuristic, exhibitionistic, or both.

    I do have nude figurative artwork in my house, and I think it’s great. As far as bodies being temples, temples seem to be rather prominent, not hidden. Again, such ideas and absolute notions are just silly.

    The difference between figurative art and pornography is the difference between light and dark, but you must open your mind to grasp the reality of the truly vast difference. Indeed, they are polar opposites. A clothed body and a nude body are not necessarily opposites and may well be the flip side of the exact same perverted coin, one side is just trying to hide their perversion under a thin layer of fabric. I’m not fooled.

  33. Yes. I am a 66 year old man. When I was in my late 30s I posed nude nude for a female photographer friend who specialized in closeups of the penis and torso. At that time she was doing artistically groundbreaking photography and her art professor sort of freaked out at her penis closeups. This of course was the sexist double standard which was even more prevalent in the 80s.

    We belonged to a cooperative art gallery, I was also a photographer. I found that I was a bit of an exhibitionist since it was a safe, socially sanctioned form of exhibitionism. I found it very sensual, I liked the feel of the hot photo lights on my body, and that people would admire my body and the photos and I could stay anonymous.

    I would do it again even though Im fat old and ugly for some serious photographer or painter.

  34. I would model as I am not very artistic. I pity the person who has to draw me, though. Way out of shape.

  35. I would be open to doing either or both, but I would need to know that students involved in drawing me as a model would act professionally, not in an immature way. Working with live nude models in art should be akin to having medical students begin practice on real patients.

  36. I like drawing models with clothes, I believe the subject is alot more
    interesting. There is something about a clothed model. There is a story the model portrays in everyday life. Please note: Norman Rockwell portayed life from all
    walks of life.
    I don’t begrudge any artist who does draw and paint nudes,it’s art in another form.
    Models, nude and clothed are during service to the Arts.It gives the viewers an option to critique to their hearts content.On that note, Thank You
    to critique to there hearts content.

  37. I like drawing models with clothes, I believe the subject is alot more
    interesting. There is something about a clothed model. There is a story the model portrays in everyday life. Please note: Norman Rockwell portayed life from all
    walks of life.
    I don’t begrudge any artist who does draw and paint nudes,it’s art in another form.
    Models, nude and clothed are during service to the Arts.It gives the viewers an option to critique to their hearts content.On that note, Thank You

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