Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics

Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics



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Impossible Nude: Chinese Art and Western Aesthetics by Francois Jullien

The undraped human form is ubiquitous in Western art and even appears in the art of India and Japan. Only in China, François Jullien argues, is the nude completely absent. In this enthralling extended essay, he explores the different conceptions of the human body that underlie this provocative disparity.

Contrasting nakedness (which implies a diminished state) with nudity (which represents a complete presence), Jullien explores the traditional European vision of the nude as a fixed point of fusion where form joins truth. He then shows that the absence of the nude in Chinese art evinces an understanding of the human body as changeable and transitory. Viewed in light of each other, these differing concepts allow for a new way of thinking about form, the ideal, and beauty, enabling us to delve deeper into the relationship between art and the ideas that lie at its roots. Beautifully illustrated and gracefully translated into English for the first time, The Impossible Nude will fascinate anyone interested in art history, Chinese art, or aesthetics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226415321
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 02/28/2007
Series: Women in Culture and Society Ser.
Edition description: 1
Pages: 152
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

François Jullien is professor of Chinese philosophy and literature at the University of Paris VII and director of the Institut Marcel Granet. Maev de la Guardia has translated works by many eminent French authors, including Jacques Derrida, Maurice Blanchot, and Julia Kristeva.

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