John Berger talked about how women in western art were nude but were not doing any kind of action. In non western art nude women would be doing some kind of activity or moving in some way. the people in non western art painted what they would regularly see and so did the people of the western art. In the West women at that time did not play a significant role in society and were usually at the home. they would not be doing the activities that the women in non western art would so it was not painted. Western men would not paint active nude women because that was not regular in their lifestyle.
since women in other places of the world were more active in society they held more respect thus when painted it was not merely for the sake of being nude. It was to show their happiness, life, and allure. With women of the west they only had sex so they were only appreciated for that aspect. Their nudity equaled baby making which is very sexual so that is how the bodies were seen. No respect just for eye pleasure.
Lifestyles heavily weighed in on the art of the female nude. Women of the west believed in thinking your body sacred to the point of it being too precious for yourself to know about it or use it. Sexual talk was shunned and anything to do with reproduction was only talked about behind closed doors. this caused the female naked body to be this heavenly object that only the privileged got to see. Their fashion tells it all. They wore layers apon layers of clothing covering the body concealing its feel and form. Many men wanted to see women nude but they did not want to seem desperate because the society would see their behavior as such. Thus the female nude with the mirror was created so men could drool over the female body. Men pushed the blame or excuse on the woman saying she was only appreciating her body, which was an act that rarely ever happened at that time, so they could have a nude women in their bedroom and get away with it. this created deep lust within men since they kept it so secret. men became more desperate to see a naked women because the thought was elevated into a sight of gods. Women obtained the ability to control a man with her form because man created the power. But men went crazy for a nude women and would do despicable crimes against women because of the ideologies.
Non western lifestyle was completely different. there was less clothing so nakedness was more natural and not this mysterious thing that people wanted to peak at. women played a more active role in society so they were respected more. sex and reproduction was not so hush hush so it did not become a magical act of wonderment. people of the world knew what sex was for and they treated it that way. The parents wanted children so they would do just that. Western ideas were that you were creating a miracle that was only ok for the married. It secluded single people who wanted to have sex the most creating a silent sexual tension in society.
It is still the same in western culture today. men go crazy over the look of a female body to the point to where here name is unnecessary. But it is also evolved and become different. men do look and men and women do look at women but not always. They only do if it is in the midst of what their doing. A man trying to get big is going to see muscular guys more because they are filling their lives with that matter. An obese women going on a diet is going to see more skinny girls because she is now thinking about it. A skinny computer nerd could care less about how muscular a guy is and a skinny girl wont think twice if she sees an obese women eating fat free yogurt for lunch. If the issue is not in your life you will not notice it.
Life now is about flashing lights and things to keep your attention. We have now formed this to the way we see people. If the opposite sex doesn't catch your eye or get your attention then their not worth your time. You don't see as many nudes in arts now because there are a million other ways to satisfy guilty pleasures. We have more graphic ways for that so art concentrates more on other aspects in life.
Back then men wanted to see women nude so they created women in art to quench their visual thirst. The nude women was not just for art and it is apparent. These days it is worse because now when people see nude paintings they feel an inward awkwardness because they think it should only be seen when your with someone alone not anytime. The sacred body has stuck in the west gotten more extreme and it causes lust, adultery, and sex crimes. Priests feast on boys because they have deprived themselves of women which is unnatural. People who you see nude these days are either your partner or a porn star there is no middle. Nudity has become much more uncomfortable then seeing some one shot in the head and their brains exploding out he back of their skull. Nudity is on such a high pedistle that people with actually pay to see it. Its someting that everyone has but it is so 'disusting' to see in public that people will pay to see it elsewhere. It's sad to think how our natural human thoughts and functions affect the way we live our lives, create our art, and control our views on the world. I don't know if it will ever change but i sure hope so.