The English language is very confusing.  There are so many words that mean exactly the same thing.  For example, nude and naked, or house and home.  I’m sure there are numerous others, but what I really wanted to write about was nude and naked, so we don’t need to waste time looking up the others.

In the context of art, an unclothed figure is a nude, thereby encouraging genteel voyeurism.  No art catalogue would describe a painting as being of a lovely naked person, though the naked body was a constant in the paintings of the old Masters, who approached each of their nudes in the terms dictated by that moment.

In contrast however, are “naked”  people.  The Bay to Breakers is a race run each year in San Francisco, and frequently enthusiastic participants  doff their clothes after the beginning, and complete the race sans attire.    One such group from San Diego call themselves the “Camping Bares”, and when asked why they came all the way to run in San Francisco, they said they would probably be arrested if they did it in San Diego.   They are in actuality, naked not nude.  You see what I’m getting at?

In teaching art and sculpture classes, the models  I hired from the agency were frequently rather rotund, or old, or at least had less than run of the mill bodies which made them more interesting to draw or sculpt.  One such girl,  Katie,  probably weighed in at 300 or so pounds, every pound of it well-distributed.  Though young, she was a terrific model, and posed for us often.  I moved away for a few years, and when I returned, I tried to hire her once again.  The agency said she was still working, but we may be surprised at her transformation.  She had fallen in love, and  had lost at least 100 pounds!   Still a good model, her curves were no longer in the same places and she sagged in places she used to be nicely stuffed.

Another time we needed a male model so I contacted the agency and they sent a “no longer young but thought he still was”  fellow over to the school.  It was an early morning class of adult  students, both male and female.. The model quietly slipped into the classroom wearing a long vivid red velvet robe tied loosely around his middle with a chartreuse sash.  His hair was of an indescribable  color ranging from a wild pink with occasional streaks of purple throughout,  and he was barefoot.  He confidently stepped forward approaching the modeling stand in the middle of the room.  A seductive smirk crossed his face as he picked up speed, and he  proceeded to run .  Somehow I knew what he had in mind, and it is exactly what he did before I could shout a word of warning.  Throwing off the robe he leaped upon the stand off center, and it and he, flipped up in the air landing on his naked backside beside the upturned modeling stand.   Meanwhile, the velvet robe sailed gracefully down and settled on the floor behind him.

Mercifully, the room was as silent as if it were empty.  The male model gathered his dignity together and resumed his job.

Now we could say that Katie was nude, and Harry (we’ll call him Harry for lack of a better name) was naked.

Out of the Woods


(She is “naked” not “nude”)

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

8 thoughts on “NUDE vs. NAKED”

    1. The Jesuits are famous for introducing the term “distinguo”, “let’s see the difference”, in reasoning. An anecdote will illustrate my point: Two Jesuit novices were walking in the seminary’s garden and reading their breviary. One was smoking. The other one said: “Did you ask father superior to smoke?- “Yes”, answered the first one.
      “How comes he gave you permission and he refused me the same?
      – How did you ask?
      -I asked if I could smoke while reading my breviary;
      -There is your problem; I asked if I could read my breviary while smoking.”


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