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Nude - The Naked Body in Art

by Marianne Latham

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Nude - The Naked Body in Art


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DVD Price $180
Streaming Price (1 year) $180
Streaming Price (1 year) + DVD $270
Streaming Price (3 years) $432
Streaming Price (3 years) + DVD $522

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What is art and what is pornography?

Throughout history depictions of the naked human body have been totemic, reverential, religious, salacious or immoral, depending on when, where and why they were created. In this fresh, independent documentary contemporary art practitioners, art academics and a nude art subject speak about the history and concepts of the naked human body in art.

Australian artist Brett Whitely in the 20th Century, became known for his sensuous, distorted nudes. Briton, Lucien Freud’s nudes were more anatomically correct but portrayed in a warts and all realism. American Jeff Koons painted himself having sex with his wife and muse, an Italian porn icon. But it was all art, wasn’t it?

With concerns over the availability of pornography on the net, particularly that which involves children, there are now heightened concerns about the portrayal of the nude body. Australian Bill Henson caused an outrage by exhibiting photos of nude pubescent teenagers, prompting the question ‘What is art and what is pornography?

Based on a a dynamic and engaging historical overview, the film raises real 21st century questions of nudity in art and offers conceptual solutions with artist interviews.

The Venus of Willendorf, believed to be the first nude, was a fertility symbol made around 25,000 BCE. Thousands of years later the Greeks and Romans frequently portrayed nudes in sculptures such as the Discus Thrower and Venus de Milo, as symbols of perfection. Later, angels, cupids and virgins were painted without clothing as part of religious observance supposedly devoid of sexuality. This was despite some being entirely about sex. Many versions of Susanna and the Elders depicted two elderly men perving on a young woman they intend to rape. Yet in a religious context this was supposedly a morality tale.

In the 18th Century nudes became commonplace. Painted for the male gaze, and not to be seen by ‘ladies’, these reclining nudes, without blemish or pubic hair, were compliant with eyes modestly averted. Then along came Goya in the 18th Century and Manet in the 19th Century, to turn the tradition upside down. They painted prostitutes, who met the gaze of the ogling men, which created an uproar. During the late 19th and early 20th Century, Austrian artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele painted controversial nudes bordering on pornography. But they were beautiful and therefore accepted as ‘art’.

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Marianne currently holds the position of Producer/Director with Marianne Latham Productions Pty Ltd. Prior to this she was Producer/Writer/Interviewer/Director for Sunday for the Nine Network.

Marianne began her career in journalism in 1975, when she gained a Journalism Cadetship with the Seven Network. This led to her becoming a News reporter with Seven National News, as well as taking the role of Researcher for This Week hosted by Brian Naylor. In 1982, she moved to SBS, where she became Chief of Staff, SBSTV, Melbourne Newsroom. During her time with SBS, she additionally took the roles of Reporter/Producer/Director for the SBSTV programs, S.C.O.O.P., Connection and Lineup. She also expanded into print media, working as a Contributing writer for The Age, Good Weekender and Accent pages.

1985 saw Marianne leave SBS to take the position of Associate News Producer, National Nine News and Producer/Reporter for the Today Show at the Nine Network. Her other work for Nine included Producer of the documentaries Big River, Big Fish and New Zealand Stories, as well as Producer forSunday program cover stories, with Charles Wooley. She additionally took on the role of Producer/Reporter The Small Business Show for Nine in 1994. Marianne has worked concurrently for the CSIRO since 1985 as Producer/ Writer/ Director/ interviewer, responsible for both in-house news and information videos, as well as their television broadcast programs such as The Good Food Show with Gabriel Gate (8 x half hours), broadcast on the ABC and Foxtel Lifestyle, the science documentary series The Researchers (ABC) and the 8 x 2 minutes science mini-docs series, Australia Advances, broadcast on free to air television, Sky, the Internet and internationally distributed by Beyond International. She has additionally written and produced various documentaries and videos for individual clients, such as the documentary Filipino Brides(Kestrel Films) for the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, a non-broadcast video on parenting for the Vietnamese community, which was part drama/part documentary and produced in Vietnamese with English subtitles and the documentary She’s a Woman, examining the portrayal of women in the media (Film House). Marianne holds an Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting RMIT University and is the author of A Working Mother’s Handbook published by Allen and Unwin in 1995.

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