Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published April 21st 2013
Get artistic with Melbourne's life drawing classes
Whether we're covering it in layers of concealing clothes or displaying it shamelessly, people have always been fascinated by the naked body. There's a reason so many great works of art are of nude people: the human body is eternal. Fashions change quickly. It's impossible to imagine the Mona Lisa strolling down Swanston St in her Renaissance-Faire getup, but Michelangelo's David could just as well be sprawled out on a bed in Fitzroy as posing diffidently on his podium.
So where can lovers of beauty see nudes - sculpted, painted, or in the flesh - in Melbourne? Well, you might want to start with...
The National Gallery of Victoria
If you're looking for nude art you can't go past the largest gallery in Melbourne. From Matisse to Corot, the NGV has hundreds of paintings and sketches of naked people, in poses and styles from this charcoal sketch by C. Douglas Richardson to pieces so abstract you need ten pages of critical analysis to figure out they're nudes at all.
This is where all the best works are kept - with 'kept' being the operative word, as many of the sketches and paintings are held in the museum vaults, waiting an exhibition that might be years or decades to come. You might have to trawl the gallery for a particular artist, a job that could take hours (unless you enlist a friendly information desk person to help).
Melbourne Life Drawing
Those with a more creative personality can create - or inspire - their own artwork by connecting with the Melbourne life drawing community. Whether you want to pose nude or sketch somebody else who's posing nude, there are plenty of websites that will connect you with other naked enthusiasts. The Melbourne Life Drawing organization (MLD for short) have a photo catalogue of freelancing nude models so you can choose the person who fits your artistic needs best. You can also submit your photos, at no cost, and join the catalogue yourself. Model fees are paid straight to the model and are usually thirty dollars an hour (although models are free to negotiate their own terms). There is a strict code of conduct on the website to ensure the safety and comfort of the models. Photographic modelling is also available, but it's understandably over twice as expensive.
Nude Art Classes
Not comfortable with a one-on-one artistic session? Think you need a bit of expert guidance before tackling a naked body on your own? Try one of the classes run by Melbourne's artists. Whether you're interested in sketching, painting or even sculpting, there's bound to be a session for you. Anselm van Rood runs a life drawing course called 'Awakening the Eye' at the Linden Gallery Arts Centre in St Kilda. It's $310 for nine classes, with a ten percent discount for early signup, but you're paying for experience: van Rood has been running the course for over twenty years.
Brook Winfield offers a figure sculpting course in Upwey for $70 a four-hour session, clay and tools provided. As the website promises, you can come away from a session with a unique gift to a loved one or a conversation piece. There's nothing like a naked statue on the mantelpiece to lend your house a cultured air.
Do you know a nude art exhibition that's coming up? Something of an exhibitionist yourself? If you like a particular art course or gallery, let us know in the comments - we don't judge here at WeekendNotes.