Art and vulgarity

What is vulgar, one might ask oneself. How do we define vulgarity? Is it the lack of clothing, or the attitude, the way of being and living?

One might argue that the lack of clothing enatils a certain sexuality. On the other hand, nothing is as natural and vulnerable as the human body. The Ancient Greeks and Romans knew it, and they never minded. Another thing is that the sexuality is in the eye of the beholder. A phenomenon called the ”male gaze” amongs arthistorians. Which means that the viewer interprets the artwork and finds it vulgar based on one’s values and earlier experiences of art.

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Anders Zorn, Bathing Girls (1890)

A set of keywords that might help us in this matter are nude / naked. Nude entails a natural state of the person, whereas naked means the lack of clothing in an otherwise dressed situation. As an example Anders Zorn’s works could be counted as nude, as they are set in nature.

Whereas the Venus from Milo is naked, due to the fact that she is dressed, or at least wrapped in a sheet from her hips down. Yet she seems a bit endearing, because the sheet is on the verge of falling off completely.

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Venus from Milo (100 B.C.),  Louvre

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