Female only nudes
The Greek goddess Aphrodite was a deity whom the Greeks preferred to see clothed.
In the mid-fourth century BCE, the sculptor Praxiteles made a nude Aphrodite, called the Knidian, which established a new tradition for the female nude, having idealized proportions based on mathematical ratios as were the nude male statues.
The shape of the female "Gothic nude" was very different from the classical ideal, with a long body shaped by gentle curves, a narrow chest and high waist, small round breasts, and a prominent bulge at the stomach (as in the Hugo van der Goes at left).
Male nudes tended to be slim and slight in figure, probably drawing on apprentices used as models, but were increasingly accurately observed.
The nudes of Greco-Roman art are conceptually perfected ideal persons, each one a vision of health, youth, geometric clarity, and organic equilibrium.
Kenneth Clark considered idealization the hallmark of true nudes, as opposed to more descriptive and less artful figures that he considered merely naked.
1500), which is usually said to be the first nude female figure study, predates this and is an example of how even figures who would be shown clothed in the final work were often worked out in nude studies, so that the form under the clothing was understood.
The nude figure drawing or figure study of a live model rapidly became an important part of artistic practice and training, and remained so until the 20th century.
Donatello made two statues of the Biblical hero David, a symbol for the Republic of Florence: his first (in marble, 1408–1409) shows a clothed figure, but his second, probably of the 1440s, is the first freestanding statue of a nude since antiquity, several decades before Michelangelo's massive David (1501–04).
Unclothed figures often also play a part in other types of art, such as history painting, including allegorical and religious art, portraiture, or the decorative arts.
Representations of gods and goddesses in Babylonian and Ancient Egyptian art are the precursors of the works of Western antiquity.
This is certainly the case for the kouros, a large standing figure of a male nude that was the mainstay of Archaic Greek sculpture.
The first realistic sculptures of nude males, the kouroi depict nude youths who stand rigidly posed with one foot forward.