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An important innovation was contrapposto—the asymmetrical posture of a figure standing with one leg bearing the body's weight and the other relaxed.An early example of this is Polykleitos' sculpture Doryphoros (ca. In the convention of heroic nudity, gods and heroes were shown nude, while ordinary mortals were less likely to be so, though athletes and warriors in combat were often depicted nude.The monumental female nude returned to Western art in 1486 with The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli for the Medici family, who also owned the classical Venus de' Medici, whose pose Botticelli adapted. 1510), also drawing on classical models, showed a reclining female nude in a landscape, beginning a long line of famous paintings including the Venus of Urbino (Titian, 1538), the Rokeby Venus (Diego Velázquez, c. In addition to adult male and female figures, the classical depiction of Eros became the model for the naked Christ child.Raphael in his later years is usually credited as the first artist to consistently use female models for the drawings of female figures, rather than studio apprentices or other boys with breasts added, who were previously used.David (1504) "What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?" -Michelangelo The nude figure is a tradition in Western art, and has been used to express ideals of male and female beauty and other human qualities.
The rediscovery of classical culture in the Renaissance restored the nude to art.The first realistic sculptures of nude males, the kouroi depict nude youths who stand rigidly posed with one foot forward.By the 5th century BCE, Greek sculptors' mastery of anatomy resulted in greater naturalness and more varied poses.It was a central preoccupation of Ancient Greek art, and after a semi-dormant period in the Middle Ages returned to a central position in Western art with the Renaissance.Athletes, dancers, and warriors are depicted to express human energy and life, and nudes in various poses may express basic or complex emotions such as pathos.