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Author Topic: Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude  (Read 2809 times)

monsnoleedra

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Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude
« on: April 23, 2012, 04:32:23 pm »
I spend quite a bit of time going through images of Artemis / Diana and the other goddess / gods I honor and am bound to.  Yet one thing that always strikes me odd is that Artemis / Diana is almost always portrayed in the nude in most of the images I see.  Just for the record while I am not drawn to or bound to Diana one can not look for Artemis without encountering Diana images and material.  Not all for sure as some of those are based upon archaic statuary or vase paintings that seldom depict her in the nude unless it has to do with a bathing scene.  The occasional semi-nude depictions usually showing a single breast though some do display both breast uncovered but that is not as common, however in such displays she tends to be wearing the short Chaitin of the maiden or unmarried girl.  Yet I think part of the single breast display also goes back to the Amazon influence upon her history.

So many depicting this nude woman who is hunting in the forest accompanied by a dog and holding either a spear or bow and arrow.  Many of the images / statuary seemingly more pornographic in intent than depicting some classical concept of the Huntress.  Even the so called many Breasted Artemis / Diana of Ephesus / Ephesos never depicted in such blatant nudity as the Huntress aspect of Artemis / Diana.

So, Why do you think that is?  Especially given the legends of what happens to those who have viewed her in her nakedness.

Fier

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Re: Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2012, 09:17:44 pm »
Quote from: monsnoleedra;51544


So, Why do you think that is?  Especially given the legends of what happens to those who have viewed her in her nakedness.

 
My guess is that modern interpretations of her have gone from "spends time in the forest" --> "wild woman" --> "rejects civilization and culture" --> "nekkid".

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Re: Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2012, 02:55:15 am »
Quote from: FierFlye;51579
My guess is that modern interpretations of her have gone from "spends time in the forest" --> "wild woman" --> "rejects civilization and culture" --> "nekkid".

 
That or, perhaps, being naked was linked to being free?
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Re: Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2012, 11:29:26 am »
Quote from: LittleWitchMagazine;51616
That or, perhaps, being naked was linked to being free?

 
Oh boy, that reminds me of Rugrats, lol. "Nakey is beautiful! Nakey is free! Nakey is.... nakey!"

Nakey is indeed nakey.

Caroline

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Re: Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2012, 04:42:02 pm »
Quote from: monsnoleedra;51544

So, Why do you think that is?  .

 
Likely a lot of it has to do with societal restrictions on depictions of women; European Medieval and Renaissance art (much of which was either heavily religious in nature or portraiture, sometimes combined when patrons were depicted in religious contexts) was very proscribed in terms of what was considered acceptable or respectful. Artists could be more daring with mythological and legendary figures, and also had their own misconceptions (often overly romantic) of Classical subjects and this carried into modern neo-classical depictions as well.

monsnoleedra

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Re: Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2012, 05:06:16 pm »
Quote from: Caroline;51710
Likely a lot of it has to do with societal restrictions on depictions of women; European Medieval and Renaissance art (much of which was either heavily religious in nature or portraiture, sometimes combined when patrons were depicted in religious contexts) was very proscribed in terms of what was considered acceptable or respectful. Artists could be more daring with mythological and legendary figures, and also had their own misconceptions (often overly romantic) of Classical subjects and this carried into modern neo-classical depictions as well.


While I think that may have an influence upon it i'm not sure its the biggest.  There are actually a lot of nude or semi-nude pieces that date back into those time frames.  Yet one facet that always strikes me is the "Plump" or "Large" bodies and such many of the depicted woman are shown as having.  Granted were still looking at a time when "Large" and "Plump" indicated health and ones capacity to support and provide for themselves or be supported.

Yet at the same time there is quite a bit of small, almost waifish, women who are depicted as goddesses or mythological creatures, ie Nymphs being a real common one.  If you look to the comparrisons it makes one wonder at the almost non-human stature of the goddesses and non-human creatures.  Not so much romanatized or envied as almost representative of unhealth or illhealth.  Some of them only lacking the pale or grey palor of the skin to show they are dead or dying.

Yet it you look to some of the better known images from that same time frame you find Diana at the Bath's which depict her as the larger plump woman vice the waifish women you see in so many others.

I personaly think part of it for me also deals with the almost obscene positing of the bodies and facial expressions.  Yes they are nude but many of the positions are surreal as the goddess is shown leaping spread eagle over some dog and shooting her bow while all her womanily charms are displayed.  I suppose almost absurbd in the depiction and the placement of the bodies and what they are doing.

If you look to the many sculptures and paintings and fresco's nudity was a common thing with many of the gods / goddesses of the time (speaking Greek and into Roman period).  Yet Artemis / Diana was almost never nude in the pieces you find.  Yes, perhaps an exposed single breast which I personally think goes back to the Amazon thing of removing a breast so they could shoot better with bow and arrow.  Her exposed breast showing she was somehow better than them in that she retained it but also I think in presenting her pre-pubscent breast to show her apparent age.  Many times I've noticed when her breast is exposed it is not the full breast you see upon the more mature goddess but that of a pre-pubescent girl or just starting into her puberty.  Of course most depictions of that nature focus upon the Agrotera or Huntress aspect of Artemis / Diana and not her / their other aspects.

Yet the modern usage of her Agrotera or Huntress form is clearly not that of the tomboyish goddess that was known to the Greeks and Romans.  To my perspective it clearly takes away from her association to pre-marital girls and the purity, freedom and strength contained in them and seen by Artemis / Diana.  Well that and her guiding them to the point where they would lay down their components of childhood and cross beneath the moon and pass into the realm of Hera or Demeter until old age when they would be welcomed back into the fold of Artemis / Diana
 
Yet I also think it goes back to the difference in though of what virginal means in the modern concept of what being virginal and free means not what the ancient concept implied.  Especially in the light that virginal did not mean unknown to man only that they were bound or beholden to no man, specifically husband.  Yet both Diana and to some extend Artemis were not seen as virginal nor unbound to any man.  Diana in lore gives birth and Artemis in various lore oversees the prostitutes that are reputed to have been present at various sacred sites of hers, especially Ephesus / Ephesos.

But again that also hinges upon the variations of Agrotera (The Huntress) and the many other persona's they held.

Thank you for answering though it gave me some more things to consider.

Caroline

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Re: Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2012, 06:11:12 pm »
Quote from: monsnoleedra;51711
...


Thing is, while ancient nudes were predominantly an expression of the idealized healthy athletic male, the exalted female nude in Western art was essentially a Renaissance innovation (previous to that, you had the occasional Medieval nursing Mary), and one that became a very strong artistic tradition, spearheaded by Botticelli’s Venus, that personified divine procreation or exotic eroticism, or both.

It's hard to discuss the topic when I'm uncertain what works in particular you are referring to, but in Medieval art the nude was usually associated with either evil or the dead, so it is possible the later works you are thinking of are those in which those elements lingered.

The posing and facial expression are also contextual, often heavily stylized, and many are not appealing to the modern eye.

In regards to depictions of Diana, I would think that the intent was not to evoke either fecundity or eroticism, but rather innocence or the pure intellectual elements of the hunt (the hunt for knowledge and virtue being a big one in Renaissance). But I think it's important to consider that it's likely the artists were not so much trying to embody ancient epithets or qualities but rather modern (to them) interpretations.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 06:11:49 pm by Caroline »

monsnoleedra

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Re: Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2012, 06:51:48 pm »
Quote from: Caroline;51718
Thing is, while ancient nudes were predominantly an expression of the idealized healthy athletic male, the exalted female nude in Western art was essentially a Renaissance innovation (previous to that, you had the occasional Medieval nursing Mary), and one that became a very strong artistic tradition, spearheaded by Botticelli’s Venus, that personified divine procreation or exotic eroticism, or both.


I will have to look but I think part of it was more mosiacs and pottery pieces for the earlier imagery I was refering to that showed more of the single breast exposed though a large portion of statuary depicted the same imagery from Greek and Roman art forms.  Definately some later wood carvings / engravings that I found.

Quote
It's hard to discuss the topic when I'm uncertain what works in particular you are referring to, but in Medieval art the nude was usually associated with either evil or the dead, so it is possible the later works you are thinking of are those in which those elements lingered.

The posing and facial expression are also contextual, often heavily stylized, and many are not appealing to the modern eye.


That sounds about right as many of them I did get a sense of evil or dead.  Bad part is I didn't really keep a listing of the artist or time frame as the imagery did nothing for me.

Quote
In regards to depictions of Diana, I would think that the intent was not to evoke either fecundity or eroticism, but rather innocence or the pure intellectual elements of the hunt (the hunt for knowledge and virtue being a big one in Renaissance). But I think it's important to consider that it's likely the artists were not so much trying to embody ancient epithets or qualities but rather modern (to them) interpretations.


Give me a bit to identify the paintings and artist so you can see who and possibly when.

monsnoleedra

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Re: Artemis / Diana and depictions in the nude
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2012, 07:01:11 pm »
Quote from: monsnoleedra;51727
.. Give me a bit to identify the paintings and artist so you can see who and possibly when.


Of course now that i'm trying to find the bad ones they are not showing.  Two of the one's that are nudes but not bad are titled

Diane Bath by Boucher and Diana and Callisto by Titan.  In both the nudity is supportive to the theme which shows them at a bath or spring like setting.  Two other's from that same time frame are Dianna & Actaeon with Diana at her Bath and Diana Surprised which deals with the same story of Actaeon but I am unsure of the artist at the moment.

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