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The Naked and the Nude

The Naked and the Nude


by Robert Graves

The Naked and the Nude Theme of Art and Culture

What's so artistic about the nude? Well, that's the million-dollar question. After all, we've all got bodies, right? And we've all seen naked bodies. So why are some representations of naked bodies art? What makes them so different from other naked bodies? And what does that say about our relationship to nakedness, in general? Are we just ashamed to be naked? Does it take art to make our cultural squeamishness about nakedness into something that's okay? Man, "The Naked and the Nude" sure poses a lot of questions.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. What sorts of arts do you think are alluded to in Graves' account of the nude? How can you tell?
  2. How come the arts are so snobbish, anyway? What's so great about them, anyway? How might our speaker answer that question? 
  3. There seem to be two types of culture here: "high" culture and real life. How are they different? 
  4. Why do you think Graves chooses to pick on the words used to describe bodies without clothes? Who cares what word is used?
  5. How might the speaker answer that question?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

"The Naked and the Nude" is pretty hostile to art. Easy there, Mr. Speaker.

"The Naked and the Nude" tries to create a new type of art that doesn't rely upon stuck-up stereotypes. Good for you, Mr. Speaker.

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