Because I'm returning to writing I'm concluding the naked child in art series (although I may resurrect it at some point). The simple fact is that whilst I have a great deal more material on hold (I haven't really begun to consider contemporary art or film) I no longer have the time or inclination to keep posting. The reason I started this project was to correct the extraordinary ignorance about the subject evident in recent controversies over the naked child in art. I think I have more than adequately provided a great many examples (far more than I originally expected) [...]
Edward Henry Potthast was a popular American Impressionist. His work seems popular amongst online art print companies (so excuse the watermarks). To me this is one of the great contradictions of the controversy over naked children in art - that images of naked children have long been available as art posters. How have they avoided the controversy?
I had mentioned in the previous post the widespread practice of nude bathing and that whether or not it was single sex was a matter of culture and time. It was the Anglophone countries that were the most concerned to separate the sexes. However the Germanic and Scandinavian countries were more accepting of mixed sex bathing, especially amongst children. This is a catalogue entry for the 1913 Munich Secession exhibition of Heisser Tag (hot day) by Carl Hans Schrader-Velgen (1876-1945), a German painter and illustrator. The original colour painting may be lost or held in a private collection.
I came across this fascinating documentary about nude swimming in schools. I have been arguing that our modern aversion to images of the naked child is very recent. This documentary reveals that in many parts of America is was common for boys to swim naked up until the 60's and 70's. However, what I find even more fascinating is how quickly this piece of social history was forgotten. What this tells us is that people can choose to forget once common social customs when those customs have become sexualised, shameful or embarrassing - or deemed politically incorrect. The documentary is [...]