Censorship

I'm finishing work on a new piece, based off a William Blake quote, called "The Road Of Excess Leads To The Palace Of Wisdom". After considering various ways to approach the composition, I decided to render the work with an urban setting, as opposed to an actual road leading to a palace. One symbol of excess is a nude woman lying on a couch.

I have painted several nude works in the past, and have various studies in my sketchbooks of the human form. Whenever I present the work publicly, it is always interesting to see the reaction. Whether or not folks are interested in the nude figure in the first place, fewer still seem to be willing to hang such work in their home (let alone their workplace). To many folks, the nude is taboo; to the artist, it is a celebration of nature and the human form.

As I mentioned in my "Impressions of Impressionist Exhibit" blog, I read Ross King's book, "Michelangelo and The Pope's Ceiling." It details the story of how Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The book covers a great deal, from the historical figures of the time, to painting methods, politics and even the social climate of the times. One of the topics discussed is how even in the Renaissance period, nude figures were still controversial and met with resistance, even though many such works, great works at that, were generated during that time.

Here I find myself in 2008 debating how my nude figure will be received by the public. Interesting to me how some topics remain controversial, no matter how much the world appears to change.