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An important innovation was contrapposto—the asymmetrical posture of a figure standing with one leg bearing the body's weight and the other relaxed.
An early example of this is Polykleitos' sculpture Doryphoros (ca. In the convention of heroic nudity, gods and heroes were shown nude, while ordinary mortals were less likely to be so, though athletes and warriors in combat were often depicted nude.
The earliest Greek sculpture, from the early Bronze Age Cycladic civilization consists mainly of stylized male figures who are presumably nude.
This is certainly the case for the kouros, a large standing figure of a male nude that was the mainstay of Archaic Greek sculpture.
and even when glorified in heaven, to allow him to display the wounds his sufferings had involved.
Nudes in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling reestablished a tradition of male nudes in depictions of Biblical stories; the subject of the martyrdom of the near-naked Saint Sebastian had already become highly popular. Although they reflect the proportions of ancient statuary, such figures as Titian's Venus and the Lute Player and Venus of Urbino highlight the sexuality of the female body rather than its ideal geometry.Representations of gods and goddesses in Babylonian and Ancient Egyptian art are the precursors of the works of Western antiquity.Other significant non-Western traditions of depicting nudes come from India, and Japan, but the nude does not form an important aspect of Chinese art.The nude figure drawing or figure study of a live model rapidly became an important part of artistic practice and training, and remained so until the 20th century.In Baroque art, the continuing fascination with classical antiquity influenced artists to renew their approach to the nude, but with more naturalistic, less idealized depictions, perhaps more frequently working from live models.