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After the middle of the fourth century bce the female nude indexing her pubis was the most represented artistic configuration in the western world., Praxiteles' introduction of the monumental female nude occurred at least three centuries after the introduction of its counterpart, the monumental male nude statue.

It was, in fact, the male nude that dominated the early artistic avant-garde in ancient art of the archaic and classical periods.

It is there we must seek the connections and constructions which provide the background for the advent of female nudity into the mainstream of western culture.

Before coming to an understanding of the sexual and erotic definition of the female nude in Greek art, we must first explore/expose those of the male nude.

claim to innovation is made by its position in ancient Greek art as the very first monumental cult statue of a goddess to be represented completely nude.

Moreover, and most significantly, it is the first monumental female nude sculpture to be positioned with her hand over her pubis, which at some undetermined moment in ancient times was given the highly manipulative / p. The politics of this name and its meanings, along with the general sexual cast of ancient legends surrounding the will be discussed presently.

The corresponding development traceable in monumental female sculpture, again by contrast, demonstrates ever greater virtuoso handling of drapery and the progressively plastic implications of hair arrangement.

The male figure is portrayed as coherent and rational from within; the female figure is portrayed as attractive from without; the male body is dynamically explored as internally logical, organic unity; the female body is treated as an external surface of decoration.

Its popularity was expressed not only in accolades of ancient writers but also in countless Hellenistic and Roman copies, adaptations and derivations 'inspired' by Praxiteles' concept.Further, given the collaborative project of Greek artists over generations and the resultant homogeneous nature of their art, the male anatomy continued in fifth-century classicism to be the form in which primary creative energy was invested.Its treatment is ever more precisely scientifically informed, culminating in Polykleitas's, a work nicknamed the canon in its own time.A survey of Greek monumental sculpture of men and women in the sixth and fifth centuries readily reveals the strong differentiation along gender lines already inherent in their definition.In the archaic period the are, on the contrary, consistently draped.

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The assymmetrical treatment of the nude male and the clothed female in archaic and classical Greek art can be matched with the by now well-known social and legal inequities between men and women in ancient Athens.

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