The dividing line between pornography and art is thin, yet there is a line. Painting a woman in the nude is an expression of love for god.
Introduction by my Uncle
My uncle Parduman died last year. He was 88. The sad part was that he died unsung and unheralded, though he was a painter of some standing. Sadder was the fact that he had left his family at the age of 80 and come back to Mumbai to paint. But he couldn’t re-establish and died lonely. I wish I had been there to help him, but he was gone ere I came to know about him. My memory of him is of a vibrant painter who once took me to a nude painting class.
It was a wonderful experience as the nude model posed before some 14 artistes including 2 girls, as each sketched her. The nude model had her thighs crossed and I felt she was a little self-conscious. But over the years I have been wondering why painters have been painting nudes.
Nude and Naked
While in school our art master Mr. Paul once took us to an exhibition of paintings of the famous painter Roerich, a Russian. What caught my eyes were the large paintings of nude women that adorned the exhibition. Being an amateur painter myself, I did sketch one nude of a sleeping woman. Unfortunately, it is perhaps lying in a loft at my house.
The charm of painting a nude woman cannot be described. It differs from a naked woman, which somehow looks slightly distasteful. But the Greeks and our own ancient artistes all brought forward the nude woman. Most of the Goddesses of the Hindus have been sculptured nude in the temples, so I wonder what the fuss is all about Hussein’s paintings.
Nude women and beauty
The fact of the matter is that a nude woman is an object of beauty. Hence a painter will try to capture that beauty. One has to see the Paintings of Goya, Picasso, and Dali to realize this. But remember nude paintings are not for the voyeur. They are basically an expression of art. Maybe at some stage love and sex may also be a part of it, but that is what the Tantra and Acharaya Rajneesh have been talking about.
I for one respect the artiste’s point of view. My friend an art teacher at the Art School commented ‘ Look its just an expression of ones innermost feelings.’ I will leave it at that. However, I have one last observation. remember painting a nude woman is something serious and perhaps that is the reason that all nude paintings never show women smiling. Ever thought of that?