The Naked Nude

The Naked Nude

  1. Frances Borzello
  • ISBN 9780500238929
  • 28.00 x 21.50 cm
  • Hardback
  • 192pp
  • 130 Illustrations, 116 in colour
  • First published 2012

Beautiful, handsome, flawless – the nude in art remained for many centuries a victory of fiction over fact.

In this new study, Frances Borzello – a skilled communicator with an ability to make us want to look at art and think anew about it – has much to say about modern art and about our contemporary and historical fixation with 
the body and the nude.

‘Borzello brilliantly updates the evasively genteel distinction between naked and nude made by Kenneth Clark in 1956 … Borzello’s illustrations are titillating, embarrassing and sometimes outright disgusting: here we find art holding a mirror up to our troublesome human nature’ – The Observer


The book memorably contrasts the civilized, 
sanitized, perfected artistic nude of Kenneth Clark’s classic, The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form, with 
today’s depictions: raw, uncomfortable, both disturbing and intriguing. Grittier and more subtle, both male and female, the new nude asks awkward questions and behaves provocatively. It is a very naked nude, created to deal with the issues and contradictions that surround the body in our time.

Borzello explores the role of the nude in 20th- and 21st-century art, looking at the work of a wide 
range of international artists creating contemporary nudes. Her fascinating text is complemented by a 
profusion of well-chosen, unusual and beautifully reproduced illustrations.

The story begins with an investigation into how and why the nude has survived and flourished in 
an art world that prematurely announced its demise. Subsequent chapters 
focus in turn on:
    Body art
    Performance art
    New perspectives of women artists
    The nude in painting, portraiture, sculpture – and its most extreme and graphic expressions that intentionally push the boundaries of both art and our comfort zone.

Frances Borzello took her doctorate at University College London. Her books include A World of Our Own: Women as Artists; Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraits and At Home: The Domestic Interior in Art.