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Nudes in Sculpture and Painting vs Nudes in Photography and Film

Tue May 27, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Tim Waggoner

OTTAWA, May 27, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Peter Baklinski is a graduate of California’s Thomas Aquinas College and has recently been accepted into the PhD program at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family in Melbourne, Australia.  He has written an insightful essay detailing the difference in viewing nakedness in art and in pornography.  In his paper Baklinski approaches the debate by asking, “Is the difference simply a matter of preference or taste, or is there something more profound that makes one entirely different from the other?”

To begin to answer this highly contested issue, Baklinski reflects on the sexual confusion that exists in society as a result of the fall involving Adam and Eve.

“In our own age, we have an intuition that our nakedness and our sexuality are very good, yet we struggle to reconcile this intuition with the earthly desires and movements of the flesh that are experienced almost as part of the human condition.”

Baklinski also points to the problem that exists in viewing art and pornography in the same light.

“Despite there being a significant difference between the naked body captured by the artist’s paintbrush on canvas and by the artist’s film or digital technologies, the underlying issue is that a body of a human person has been transferred out of its ontological identity as the body of this man or this woman and into an abstract dimension where the body begins to lose its connection to the gift-dimension of the person.”

The PhD candidate then emphasizes the need for artists to represent the “whole truth” of human sexuality and dignity, and addresses the fact that over sexualized ‘art’ lacks this full truth and leads to one viewing persons in photographs as objects. 

“Through an excessive focus on sexuality, producers of such works leave an impression upon the viewer that sexual values are perhaps the only real values of a person and that love consists in nothing more than the self-centered experience of these values.  In this way, the producer obscures the whole person and introduces a partial truth through his work, so that the viewer is provoked to react to the person being portrayed simply as an object, as a means to one’s own pleasure, and not as a person.”

Baklinski also comments on the responsibility artists have to represent the whole truth of the human body in their artwork and asks if modern technology is actually capable of portraying this truth.

“A particular responsibility arises for artists who use audiovisual technologies that capture so accurately the many dimensions of human experience. Can these technologies capture the whole truth concerning the love that is uniquely expressed between spouses?”

For the answer to this pertinent question and to read much more enlightened commentary on the need for art to represent the whole truth of the dignity of the human person, please enjoy Peter Bakinski’s full essay at:
  http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008_docs/Classical_nudes_and_pornography.pdf

See Peter’s website at
  http://web.mac.com/peteanderinbaklinski/phd_studies/Welcome.html


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