Depictions of nudity include visual representations of nudity through the history, in all the disciplines, including the arts and sciences. Nudity is restricted in most societies, but some depiction of nudity may serve a recognized social function. Clothing also serves as a significant part of interpersonal communication, and the lack of clothing needs to have a social context.
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The topic of sexuality in art history can be approached in a variety of ways but perhaps the most valuable one in terms of a foundational topic for a survey art history lecture is the convention of female nudity in art. Tracing this convention through the history of art will enable you to cover issues of sexuality, gender, and power with your class. Additionally, you can spend time looking at the ways in which modern and contemporary artists have responded to the trope of female nudity in order to break with past conventions, and the ways in which feminist and queer artists and artists of color have developed new approaches to this tradition from a position of marginality.
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