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Beyoncé, Titian and Me, Drunkenness and Power in the Italian Renaissance Nude

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Author (blog) Jill Burke

Jill Burke’s blog can be evaluated as an art essay on “how culture works and to whom it belongs”. Burke argues that the emergence of the renaissance nude marked social class, an appetite for classical mythology, male power, privilege, dominance, virility and man’s sexual power over women; Burke asserts Renaissance Art is where ‘social hierarchy began’ thus also heralding the birth of the ‘boy’s club.’ Nudes were largely for ‘his’ wealthy eyes-only and the property of the rich and royal.

Gluttony, lust, drunkenness, erotic food, an orgy of nude women was justified by the renewed interest in classical mythology. The female nude was carefully crafted in line with Christian virtue by referencing the pagan as a delicacy for men. Juxtaposing this, powerful men, commissioned artworks in status defining robes and codpieces to peacock in a more ‘modest’ lewd, flamboyant fashion their sexual virility.

Burke is saying the tradition of Adam and Eve and original sin has been justifiably dismissed because of the refined drunkenness, the shielding of women, the power of art, knowledge and man need to partake in procreation; if you are male, privileged, powerful, in need of an heir, then it’s the norm to be fashionable and to show off in the most tasteful and refined manner. Burke draws on various paintings by Renaissance artists to back up her argument and sums up her account with the title “Beyoncé, Titian and Me, Drunkenness’ and Power in the Italian Renaissance Nude.”

In classical times there was no shame in nudity, there was no Christianity or myth about Adam and Eve and our propensity to sin.

The Classical were very practical and shameless especially the Ancient Greeks, the Romans were more about romance. The Renaissance rebirthed the classical nude as an intoxicating cocktail of soft pornography mixed with Christian virtue, in the most delicious and lavish way by separating virginity from lust via imagery.

The Goddess Aphrodite (who fashionably became Venus) is today’s aphrodisiac or love drug. Related words to metamorphosis are rebirth, evolution and change therefore nudity changed with Renaissance fashion, Burke successfully argues that the fashionable man’s club continues today by referencing Beyoncé, a living breathing Venus. Burke’s analysis is as compelling as a Titian nude.

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Author (blog) Jill Burke Jill Burke’s blog can be evaluated as an art essay on “how culture works and to whom it belongs”. Burke argues that the emergence of the renaissance nude marked social class, an appetite for classical mythology, male power, privilege, dominance, virility...Beyoncé, Titian and Me, Drunkenness and Power in the Italian Renaissance Nude