Thursday, December 11, 2008

David wasn't REALLY naked when he killed Goliath. (or WAS he?)

Ah, human nudity.

What else can rival such popularity? It's everywhere. In simple, tasteless work (porn), in the realm of fine art, and back through the ages. Even portrayals of well-known biblical figures such as David and Adam and eve are flaunting their original outfits without shame.

"Dear Lord WHY!?", you ask.

I mean, sure. Porn. That makes sense. Man has desired to look upon naked women since before he even began scratching heroic images of himself killing prehistoric beasts on cave walls. That's a no-brainer.

But art?

It's about beauty. The grace and power and subtleties and vulnerabilities of the human body, the versatility and unique thoughts and desires that lend their aids to romanticizing the human image.

It's about what matters most. Not clothes. Not material possessions. When it all ends, and everyone and everything is gone, what will still matter to you? People. The people we love, the ones we hate. Those who destroy and also create. There was nothing else before we had each other, before we made our memories. Nothing else important, anyway. It's relationships with other people that matter most.

Obviously we can't paint or sculpt relationships and raw feelings. It's all in the body language. The body. The human body.

What do you suppose Michelangelo was doing when he sculpted the naked young David? It certainly wasn't porn. It wasn't to show off how ridiculously muscular he was (although a decent body helps, and no one wants to look at a horrifically deformed bod anyway). I think maybe it was showing his courage.

A friend of mine once observed that perhaps Michelangelo's intent was to show how great David's God was, and also David's faith in his God. He was naked and helpless, weak, and hadn't even armor to protect him, but his faith was enough to help him kill a giant.

I think it's feeling. What do you use to best express your feelings? Before you write it down, before you shout it out, your body language says it loud and clear. The expression on your face, your stance, where you stand, your posture, your ticks and nervous habits. There it is, all worn there on your... er... lack of a sleeve.

Don't you feel it, the confidence that David exudes? Regardless of his weak stature, he stands at ease. His face is calm. He is not afraid. There is something powerful in him. His God, perhaps? Maybe just an unusual courage?

Michelangelo didn't need to say anything. He didn't need to write out his intent so that we could read it and know what he meant. It's plain and simple for all to see.

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