Life in the Nude

A couple of years ago, a guy I had just met asked me what I did for a living and I told him I was a professional artist’s model. Then he asked me if I pose nude. Naturally, I answered “yes”. Then he asked me, “Do you walk around your house nude?”. Now I wasn’t sure, but I suspected that the question was inspired by smutty thoughts on his part, rather than genuine curiosity about the habits of art models. I asked him what he meant exactly. After all, many people who are not art models walk around nude from time to time, in the privacy of their homes. So the guy elaborated, and wondered aloud that since I WORK in the nude and am obviously comfortable in the nude, if I was ALWAYS nude. Literally. Like when I’m doing laundry, washing dishes, talking on the phone, writing emails, changing lightbulbs, etc. I didn’t care for what he was insinuating and explained that I’m a nude MODEL, not a nud-IST. Needless to say, I think he was disappointed.

Even though the guy was a bit of jerk who interpreted my profession through his own perceptions and fantasies rather than what it actually is, he did get me thinking. The truth is I do walk around nude occasionally. More often than normal? Honestly I have no clue because I have nothing to compare it with. I’ve never taken a survey. And I’m not in the habit of going around asking others, “Hey, how often do you walk around the house in the nude? Two hours a day? Three hours a day?”.

A lot of us do the after-shower nude thing, right? When you don’t bother with the robe and you’re running late, so you just get ready while nude. I don’t know why but I seem to move faster when I’m nude and LATE! One of my ex-boyfriends used to shave in the nude. Is that common? I have folded laundry nude. I’ve made the bed nude. And I’ve had phone conversations while nude but that’s only for steamy phone sex <—– KIDDING!! I KID!! 😆 I was accidentally nude once when answering the door to the UPS guy. My robe belt opened up and I was exposed for maybe two seconds, but he still got an eyeful.

With all this nude-around-the-house stuff, I’m obliged to mention that I live alone, and have no children. So I have zero propriety constraints. I’m footloose and fancy-free! But still, I am clothed most of the time. I don’t vacuum in the nude, I don’t wash dishes in the nude, I don’t do computer stuff in the nude, I don’t cook dinner in the nude. Reading, yes from time to time. Yoga? Nah. Well, sometimes semi-nude. Dancing? I’m sorry, that’s classified.

The nude in art is always tagged with the same descriptions: “reclining”, “standing”, “bathing”, “sleeping”, “daydreaming”, etc. Those are apparently the common and acceptable nude behaviors. Sometimes, though, you come across a work of art that places in the nude in a mundane activity, or even a bizarre activity, in a situation where the nudity seems oddly inappropriate and unrealistic.

This painting by Carl Larsson is not so strange. I would do this. Model Writing Postcards, 1906:

Larsson-postcards

This, on the other hand, is quite peculiar. Why is this guy nude? From Andrew Wyeth, this is Man and the Moon. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful painting. But the nudity, on the side of the road, next to a Harley? Shit, when I do that I get propositioned by unsavory vagrants, especially on Tenth Avenue 😆

wyeth-moon

Anyone play an instrument for enjoyment in their spare time? Try it in the nude! Don’t worry, nobody’s looking, except for maybe Anders Zorn. He painted his nude model strumming and contemplating in Studio Idyll from 1918.

anders-zorn-studio-idyl

I don’t know a lot of fishermen. Actually I don’t know any. But I assume that they don’t carry out their fishing activities in the nude. Do they??? From 1868, Frederic Bazille’s Fisherman With a Net:

bazille-fisherman

This last painting is probably how that creepy guy imagined me and my wanton nude morality. A perpetually clothes-free woman. All nude, all the time. Both in private and in public, with neither boundaries nor wardrobe. You all know this one. Manet. Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe. Caused a huge scandal at the time. Today, we could just rename it “Picnic With Claudia” 😉

Manet_Edouard_Dejeuner_Sur_L_Herbe

I guess the lesson in all this is that you can do anything in the nude. Who needs clothes? But the key difference is that when you’re nude in ART you won’t get into trouble! 😉

23 thoughts on “Life in the Nude

  1. fredh1 says:

    In answer to your survey, I’ll admit that when home alone I usually forego pants. Pants are practical for working out in the world, but I’ve never found them comfortable. If I were wearing skirts I probably would find it just as comfortable to leave them on.

    There are various reasons to wear clothes: protection from the elements, modesty, and of course, pockets. In the privacy of your home, not one of those reasons applies, so I really can’t imagine why one would wear clothes except out of habit or laziness.

  2. Lesson is you can do _anything_ in the nude? I imagine it would not be a real good idea to try frying bacon. 😦

    On the other hand I have soaked, nude of course, in a hot spring when the air temperature was minus forty and found that quite comfortable.

    On another other hand: I once, in the spring when the temperature was around zero, came out of a sauna took a run and strove to dive into the snow to cool off… Little did I know the snow was on a south slope and the sun had left a hard glaze, a thick, unbreakable, rough (very rough), ice layer, on it, -at least ’till I’d slid 20 some feet along it on my belly, etc. Now that was not fun at all!

    • artmodel says:

      JIm,

      I don’t do any bacon-frying, clothed or otherwise, but I see your point.

      Your slide down the ice sounds pretty unpleasant! But the nude soak in the hot spring sounds heavenly. I’d like to try that, but I’m not aware of any hot springs in the five boroughs of New York. Dammit.

      Thanks for your comments, Jim.

      Claudia

  3. Ray says:

    Intersting blog. While w/my girlfriend years ago and much younger, I spent more time in the nude. This blog brought it to a consious awareness about how much time I spend in the nude. These days not much, comming out of the shower .But I do spend a lot of time in my underwear and boxer shorts , shirtless of course. I guess as I got older gravity takes its effect on certain parts of the anatomy so to be comfortale i need some extra support.

    • artmodel says:

      Ray,

      You’ve “exposed” (pardon the pun) a lot of yourself with your comment! Given your easygoing attitude, your next stop should be art modeling! Get up on that platform, my friend! 😆

      Thanks for commenting.

      Claudia

  4. Andrew says:

    At first glance the nude biker looks unusual, but thinking about it, maybe there is a cohesive theme. Nudity can represent many things, including freedom to be oneself without social status, occupation, etc. being defined by clothing. Maybe the theme is free spirit. I hope he’s careful … imagine the road rash if he crashes. Geesh.

    I can’t decide if the guys in suits having a picnic with naked women is creepy or just silly. If they were all nude, it wouldn’t seem weird. If they were all dressed formally it wouldn’t seem weird. It’s just such a mismatch.

    The fishermen don’t look like they are fishing. I assume they’d use a fishing net while at sea. Maybe they just took a skinny dip. Maybe their boat is moored nearby and the standing guy is tidying up the net. I could be wrong about the details, but the nudity doesn’t look out of context.

    The other scenes seem quite normal to me.

    -Andrew

    • artmodel says:

      Andrew,

      I say you did a fine job analyzing these paintings. I really like way you interpret the Wyeth. I agree that freedom is a palpable theme in that one. And I think that the model was a close friend of Wyeth’s.

      As for the Manet, I can tell you that, as a woman, it reeks of sexism. A nude woman among clothed men? Please. But that was the point, clearly, as the woman depicted is a prostitute.

      Thanks for your comments, Andrew. Good to hear from you!

      Claudia

  5. dougrogers says:

    The shoemakers children have no shoes.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I love this bunch of photos! A very amusing post 🙂 (I say, sitting fully clothed at my desk – but it’s too cold over here now for anything else!)

  7. ColdSilverMoon says:

    Great post, Claudia, and great series of pictures. The nude biking I can’t see – dangerous moving parts and nudity don’t go well together, IMO. However, the nude fishing completely makes sense, especially the way they were doing it – with nets, in a small stream or river. That’s also my favorite painting of the bunch – very idyllic. And the Zorn painting looks completely relaxing – reclining nude on something soft, strumming a guitar. Sounds nice!

    I’ve been asked if I’m a nudist many times when people find out I’m an art model. The answer is really no, but I’m usually nude or just in a pair of boxer shorts at home. In the winter I put on more, but in the summer I’m nude virtually all the time at home. Our AC isn’t the best, and New York summers can be just too hot and muggy for clothes. I’ve done the hot springs thing in Colorado, which was a blast. I’ve also been to a couple of nude beaches – my favorite is at Lake Tahoe. The water’s a bit cold, but you can’t beat the scenery.

    And Claudia, there are no hot springs in New York, but there are some nude day spas in the city. My wife goes to Juvenex Spa in midtown every now and then – during the day it’s women only, and everyone goes nude. At night couples can go, and there is a loosely enforced mandatory bathing suit rule. It’s not the same as natural springs, but that’s the closest thing to it in the big city.

    • artmodel says:

      ColdSilverMoon,

      So true about New York summers. We’ve had some brutal ones, although this summer wasn’t bad at all.

      Thanks for sharing your nude recreational experiences. I didn’t know Lake Tahoe had a nude beach. I also didn’t know about the nude day spas here in New York. You learn something new every day!

      Enjoyed your comments, and I’m glad you liked the post!

      Claudia

  8. LK says:

    Impressive how you can draw out the most interesting aspects of people’s lives Claudia, the post along with the comments made for a rather informing read. I’m reminded of the Sienfeld episode, “good-nude/bad-nude.” Some activities just require clothes, and I’m actually relieved to learn you’re not a full blown nudist.

    I don’t have any habits to disclose, though I do have memory once of accidentally getting sunburned, like, all over. Ouchy.

    Scott

    • artmodel says:

      LK,

      Yes! I thought of that Seinfeld episode too as I wrote this post! “Good nude/bad nude” is a thoroughly valid theory, in my opinion. Even we art models would agree.

      I’m delighted that you found this entry a good read, and I appreciate your kind comments, as always. And I will reiterate just for the hell of it – no, I am absolutely, positively NOT a nudist. I’m nude enough in my professional life 😉

      Thanks for commenting, LK.

      Claudia

  9. PADoug says:

    Claudia,

    Sorry I haven’t posted in so long. In response to your question about the guy’s “Smutty” thoughts, well, I’ll admit to being a little defensive here.

    For example: For years, I was a practicing Nudist. I think the natural question in most Textile, and even Nudists minds is: If you are comfortable being nude in front of other people, how far do you take that in your everyday life.

    Truthfully? I believe people who ask questions like that are simply envious of those who can carry that self confidence and freedom to all parts of thier lives (Myself included there, for awhile). And we know how envy can manifest itself: Anger, but I suppose more offten, just that weird awkwardness such as when someone touches on a very intimate subject such as spirituality or death.

    Or the guy may simply believe like the rest of the populace that folks like us are simply crazy, and want to know more about us! LOL Either way, it’s okay.

    Largo tiempo a viver de au natural!

  10. Dave Rudin says:

    I typically refer to Manet’s “Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe” as ‘Naked Lunch on the Grass.’ I read that it caused a scandal because, while everyone in Paris knew that prostitution was carried on in places like the Bois de Bologne, nobody had ever dared to make a painting such a thing before.

    Still, my favorite comment about this painting was in an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The characters in the paintings at the National Gallery had gone on strike demanding better working conditions. Not all of the paintings were in London’s National Gallery, of course, and so we saw Botticelli’s Venus step out of her painting and Marat slide away down the hole of his bathtub.

    Someone then said that the “Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe” had walked out on strike after it was removed from being above the radiator. Of course, if you weren’t familiar with the painting the line would be meaningless, but as I was familiar with it, I thought it was brilliant.

  11. Robert says:

    Hi Museworthy, forgive me for being a bit absent, but I will get back properly one day soonish. I like Carl Larson’s work; it has a beautiful family “air” about it. It would be wonderful to do a similar collection about many countries across the world illustrating comparable things in a family setting. This particular work is typical of his innocent view of the world (even though it may not have been (!) but his depictions of his wife and children would suggest a great deal of love and affection.

    If we go out without underwear we describe the “condition” as “Commando” on this side of the pond. Of course if you live in Scotland a chap in a skirt (kilt) would not be seen dead wearing underwear. I do not think this applies to ladies though. There is no sex equality on these mattes!

    Doing without cloths over here is a little bit “macho” it’s cold here and nudity outside in public is considered “funny” up to a point until someone finds it offensive then all hell breaks loose and the offender is locked up for causing a breach of the peace. Strangely nudity is not against the law exactly( I don’t think). Leaping around at home in private is I am sure far more prevalent than anyone would like to admit. Not something one talks about at dinner parties!

    The hypocrisy over nudity and what is described as “decent” or not, is a super subject for the newspapers and media in general. Little has changed since Victorian times.

    However, great works of art featuring wonderful “models” are greatly respected and many “Models” are held both in awe and adoration forever.

    • artmodel says:

      Robert,

      It is so wonderful to have you back. I missed you, and have been thinking about you during your difficult loss. I can’t imagine how hard it’s been.

      But your blogging friends are still here! And you have returned, as always, with a terrific comment offering great insights, wit and opinions. What better topic than nudity to mark your return!

      Welcome back, friend . . . 🙂

      Claudia

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