customsand taboos in historicaltimes.
The deep and often painful emotions of happiness,
pain, shock, or shame the sight of the nakedbody
arouseswere used by artistsin many ways. Nakedness
was, and still is, always something special. It can
signify divinity, or reveal human helplessness. Most
Striking is the magic of the erect male genitals,
which accounts for the survival of the apotropaic
image of the phallus into Classical times, on the herm
and the satyr and in Old Comedy.
I ‘ve attempted to illustrate some aspects of the rendering of nakedness,partial and whole,for guys
and for girls, in Greece, and in the barbarian
world; to interpret some of the historical accounts, and
to “read”some of the images, in the Greek artistic
language, along with in some very queer barbariandialects. There are clearly problems of translation,
Frequently involving our own understandingof the nude
the painterZeuxis,was describedby Lucian.Zeuxis:see
Robertson413, 488. Barbarianprisonerson Roman
148 Suprans. 3, 9-12, 91. S. Freud,A GeneralIntroduction

to Psychoanalysis(orig. English publ. 1920; rev., repr. Awesome
York 1964) 160: “The number of things which are repre-

in dreamsis notgreat. The humanbody
as a whole, parents,kids,brothersand sisters,arrival,
death, nakedness…. ” See also P. Slater, The Gloryof Hera

Suprans.9-10, 38. AmongrecentstudiesseeL. di Stasi,


figure in . We often think of it as largely erotic.
Eros really goes behind the sight of the naked
human body, but its sensual significanceis not the only

one in artwork. In fact, when it’s only eroticits significance is
least strong. The Aphroditeof Euripides’Hippolytus, with all her awesomepower, was completely dressed. In
Greece the remarkable innovation of athletic male
nudity, which really originated in a rite, spiritual
context, developeda specific social and civic meaning.
It becamea costume,a uniform:exercisingtogetherin
the gymnasia marked men’s standing as citizens of the
polis and as Greeks. On the vases, this is how youthful
Guys were shown.
Female figuresshown nakedin public, on the other
hand, were generally entertainers. Women depicted
as exposed were broken, stripped of their clothing,
and in dreadfuldanger,as vulnerableand unguarded
before a male attacker as Athenian law conceived
them to be in life. Clothing differentiates guys from
animals. This distinction is still valid in Classical
Greek artwork for women (thoughnot for men). Polyxena,
and Iphigeneia, naked by the altar, are about to be
sacrificedlike creatures.
The perspective of nakedness among barbarians differs,
Frequently contrasting sharply with that of mainland
Greece in the Classical period, and permits US to see
more clearly, maybe,just how unique the Greekconcept and customwere. Hebrews and Romans made a
Assortment of adjustmentsto include-in a small waythe classical ideal of Greek male nudity and of the
gymnasia in their artwork and in their life. The Gauls’ custom of fightingnakedwas remarkedon as “foreign”by
the Greeks. In Etruria, and in Italy, female nudity
and the image of the nursing mother still mark the
power of the mothergoddess,as they did in the Mediterraneanbefore Greek artwork prevailed.
In Classical antiquity, thus, the contrast between the clothed and the naked human body was
used to express some of the most fundamental contrastsof the
human experience:God and man, human and creature,
man and girl, public world and privatelife

Mal Occhio:The Undersideof Vision(San Francisco1981),
with review by A. Burgess, TLS, 4 September 1981, 999;

Cultural studies practitioners have long debated the signication of clothing and
the means in which they signify sensuality, sexuality, status, as well as the ethics
and codes of production of clothes, consumption, the operations of ideas of
Fitting in the subscription to fashion trends — all in all, the manners in which
clothing represents. Evaluations of clothes and fashion have often treated the
‘naked’ body as if ‘s prior to representation other than in its depiction in art,
pornography, advertising and other media. The debates in art history and public
sphere parlance over the differences between naked and bare are moot points
when viewed through a poststructuralist lens. Kenneth Clark (1956) indicates
that artistic rendering — high art — has the ability to depict the naked as nude,
as if ‘nude’ is another kind or design of clothes, leaving behind ‘naked’ as the really
disrobed. Treating the nude body in this way ignores how it is consistently already
Signified and constrained by codes of behaviour, contexts, distinction from
the clothed body, loose signications and cultural rites. Although nakedness is
most often performed during, with or alongside practices of sexuality, it seems