There is power in the taboo of the naked female form. For centuries, our unclad bodies have been used as symbols to shock, to arouse and to protest, and often in art, a nude is more than just a nude.
Sotheby’s is about to auction a collection of paintings by an Egyptian artist Mahmoud Said (1897-1964). ArtDaily.org state that his work “came to epitomise the complexity of dealing with his own individual desires and the values of his society”.
Here’s their commentary on the image pictured below:
“Highlighting the collection is Mahmoud Said’s oil on canvas Untitled (Nude), dated 1951-1957. This example, which is estimated at £80,000-120,000 is typical of Said’s paintings of relaxed beauties with full breasts and wide hips, in which the artist relishes every curve of her body, revering her nudity. Said celebrates the woman’s sensuality, encapsulating the zeitgeist of the period with the liberation of women and the shift in social structure. Inspired by an Egyptian woman, this painting is steeped in the essence of 20th century Egypt. Said’s nudes are not immediately associated with power and politics, but rather seem to be simply celebrations of Egyptian life. However, it must be noted that the nude was a fierce political statement. Until Said’s time, the female form was taboo, most especially the nude figure. Said, however was the uncle of Queen Farida, wife of King Farouk of Egypt, and was therefore able to push thee boundaries of artistic practice commonly seen in his country. A number of political factors relating to 20th-century Egypt also had a profound effect on the work of the Egyptian pioneers in art, including Said and Mahmoud Mokhtar (1883-1934), as it was a time of enormous upheaval with Britain declaring Egyptian independence, which was preceded by a great nationalist movement largely driven by women and the lower classes.”
Read the entire article here.