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By François Jullien

The undraped human shape is ubiquitous in Western paintings or even appears to be like within the artwork of India and Japan. in basic terms in China, François Jullien argues, is the nude thoroughly absent. during this captivating prolonged essay, he explores different conceptions of the human physique that underlie this provocative disparity.

Contrasting nakedness (which implies a decreased nation) with nudity (which represents a whole presence), Jullien explores the conventional eu imaginative and prescient of the nude as a hard and fast aspect of fusion the place shape joins fact. He then exhibits that the absence of the nude in chinese language paintings evinces an figuring out of the human physique as changeable and transitory. considered in mild of one another, those differing thoughts permit for a brand new state of mind approximately shape, the best, and sweetness, allowing us to delve deeper into the connection among paintings and the guidelines that lie at its roots. superbly illustrated and gracefully translated into English for the 1st time, The most unlikely Nude will fascinate someone attracted to artwork background, chinese language artwork, or aesthetics.

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Additional resources for The Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics

Sample text

I n this v e i n , it is said o f L i u L i n g that h e p u b l i s h e d o n l y o n e p o e m i n h i s l i f e t i m e . T h i s w a s " I n P r a i s e o f W i n e , " w h e r e , in contrast w i t h codified values and in total c o n tempt o f both ritual prescriptions and philosophical discussions, w h i c h b r i s t l e w i t h c o n f l i c t s , h e c e l e b r a t e s the p e r f e c t l i g h t h e a r t e d ness that c a n o n l y b e a t t a i n e d b y e s c a p i n g b e y o n d the o v e r c o n s t r i c t e d l i m i t s o f o u r w o r l d : " H e a v e n a n d E a r t h are b u t a m o r n i n g / T h e m y r i a d a g e s n o m o r e t h a n a s i n g l e i n s t a n t .

It c o u l d b e said that t h e n u d e exposes B e i n g m o r e c o m p l e t e l y , a n d that this is w h e r e its " b e a u t y " lies. T h i n k o f the f e w great nudes in the h i s t o r y o f a r t , such as those o f B o t t i c e l l i . I n his Birth of Venus, the " b i r t h " i n q u e s t i o n is n o t t h e a n e c d o t i c b i r t h o f b e i n g b o r n : it e x presses, p r e c i s e l y , h o w t h e a p p e a r i n g surges o u t , the e - v i d e n c e o f the n u d e b o d y s t a n d i n g o u t w i t h i n t h e v i s i b l e .

N o n e o f this constant i n t e r n a l r e n e w a l is m a n i f e s t e x t e r n a l l y e x c e p t at t h e orifices, w i t h each c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o a p a r t i c u l a r o r g a n . N o revelations are to be expected f r o m the outer conformation o f flesh a n d m u s c l e , o f w h a t b r o a d l y r e m a i n s little m o r e t h a n a t o r s o c o n t a i n i n g t h e o r g a n s (the l i m b s a r e f r e q u e n t l y o m i t t e d a l t o g e t h e r i n m e d i c a l d r a w i n g s ) .

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