The Easel


12th March 2019

Is the Renaissance nude religious or erotic?

Nudes in the early Renaissance were most common in religious art, their realism serving to portray Christ’s sacrifice. New humanist ideas about beauty led to a sly eroticism. Male nudes particularly showed this, reflecting a society where same sex male relationships were common. The Reformation tried to re-establish modesty but “after the Sistine Chapel, “everyone wanted their artists to paint nudes.”