Last week, my Artist Group made a field trip to Roswell to gallery hop, check out some boutiques and of course, have lunch out. Our first stop was Raiford Gallery, where owner Judie Raiford greeted us with warm hospitality and gave us a tour of her private studio. (All impromptu; when Judie learned there were six visiting artists on her premises, she put her own work on hold, rolled out the red carpet, and provided us with as entertaining a morning as I've had in a long time. Thank you, Judie!)
One of the topics that came up in our conversation with Judie was subject matter. Judie said that a bit more thinking "outside the box" as far as women artists' subject matter goes was something she'd encourage. In other words, taking a familiar subject and giving it a more quirky or personal feminine twist. This inevitably led to another topic of conversation: Why don't women paint more male nudes than they do?
Hmmm. An intriguing question. Just how under-represented in art is the nude male figure, anyway? A few days later, just for fun, I decided to check the Paintings section on Etsy. Bear in mind, this was not a scientific survey by any means. I chose Etsy only because I knew I could pull up some stats very quickly.
The results: on the day I checked (Sunday, Aug. 3) Etsy showed listings for 5,914 paintings of female nudes, and just 1,785 listings for male nudes.
Ladies, if this were the Kentucky Derby, we'd be crossing the finish line just as the winner's roses were starting to wilt.
Why the inequity? Why do female nudes outnumber male nudes approximately three to one??? Where are all the men???
Granted, this was a snapshot of just one moment in time on one web site, but I suspect you'd find similar numbers on other art sites as well.
I'm not a figure painter myself. The human form as subject matter has never been my thing. So I have no answers. Do you?
©2014 Lynn Edwards