Until the French Revolution, nudities were only accepted in religious or mythological paintings. The nineteenth century was a time of questioning these conventions.

Below are 5 nudes that have shocked the history of art :

Francisco Goya, La Maja Desnuda (1797-1800)


La Maja Desnuda

Goya’s maja naked looks confident and fixes the viewer without shame or shyness. This painting, which  represented the mistress of the Spanish painter, was commissioned for private use and should have been protected from public scrutiny. It was nevertheless discovered and shocked the manners of the time for its transgression.

Gustave Courbet, Sleeping Nude Woman (1862)


Sleeping Nude Woman

Sleeping Nude Woman is an artwork painted in 1862 by Gustave Courbet. This woman, partly naked, lying on her bed, was reason for a scandal at the time because she had no historical or mythological pretext. Moreover, this young Saintaise named Francoise is exposed in an attitude of voluptuousness and desire which was absolutely shocking for the time.

Sleeping Nude Woman disappeared fora good part of the 20th century and reappeared during an exhibition in the spring of 1940, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest.

Gustave Klimt, Danae (1907)



This masterpiece of Klimt makes up the body of the beautiful sleeping Danae which is presented in the shape of an egg, symbolizing fertility. Asleep and innocent, the features of the relaxed faces pose a contradiction with the sensuality produced by her opened legs, her breasts and her half-open mouth.

A dreamlike atmosphere bathes this composition inspired by mythology and charged with eroticism.

Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase n ° 2 (1912)


Nude Descending a Staircase n ° 2

Nude Descending a Staircase n ° 2 is painted in January 1912. Although it was controversial during its exhibition at the Armory Show of New York in 1913, it consecrated the glory of Marcel Duchamp and marked the beginning of the modern art in the USA.

Before this painting, the representation of the nude form had to meet certain criteria. Here, the nude is shown in a figuration of movements and breaks with classical codes.

Lucien Freud, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1935)


Benefits Supervisor Sleeping

The grandson of Sigmund Freud painted a nude obese woman, lying on a sofa. It is in fact a portrait of Tillet, counselor of an employment center that served as a model on several occasions around the period between 1994-1996. Freud said about her body “It’s flesh without muscle and it developed a texture of a different kind by wearing something so heavy”

Sold by Christie’s in New York 2008, the painting held the world record of the highest price paid for a painting by a living artist, or $ 33.6 million.

Jules Lefebvre, The Cicada (1872)


The Cicada

But who still remembers the young girls in flowers of Jules Lefebvre (1836 -1911)?

Nudes on Singulart

Also some of our artists have devoted themselves to the act drawing. Discover the naked beauties of Peter D’alessandri and Michael Alford.

Peter D’alessandri

The representation of the human body has been the main subject and source of inspiration for Peter D’alessandri’s recent work. D’Alessandri is fascinated by the relationship between the model, the painter and the viewer.


Portrait of a Glamour Model, © Peter D’alessandri, Singulart Artist

Michael Alford

Michael Alfords paintings of figures, clothed and nude, are sought after for their combination of fine draughtsmanship, acute observation and sense of drama.


Nude/on White 2, © Michael Alford, Singulart Artist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *