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Art nude is a work depicting the vision of an artist working with the human form naked. Be it paintings, photographs, or mixed media, the art nude is a term attempting to give an artistic depiction of a nude human form. Some of the earlier artists who used nude models for their art were Michelangelo, Botticelli and DaVinci. Early photographers who have well known works of the "art nude" are Imogen Cunningham, Ruth Bernhard, Anne Brigman, Edward Weston and Alfred Stieglitz.

An artful nude or figurenude photograph

Many photographers began to use the term figurenude to describe their "art nude" photos. One notable early adopter of the term figurenude was Jerry Avenaim.

The term figurenude is used for an object of two dimensional art with a nude human figure making up about one quarter of the surface area and is not intentionally erotic. It does not involve the subject interacting with anyone or the face of the nude as a prominent feature. The nude human form presented is revealed as an object of art and not a person with reference to his or her social relationships and behavioral patterns. It is often a term applied to photographs, but can be anything two-dimensional. The figurenude is a sub-class of the art nude genre that completely separates itself from all erotica and applies to only two-dimensional art.

Ruth Bernhard was one of the earliest to describe her photographs as "art nudes". She particularly noted that she never photographed a nude with the subject looking into the lens. We see this reading of the ninety-five year old artist in an interview where she addresses this issue while comparing her nude photographs to Jock Sturges photographs of the nude. Ruth Bernhard said, "I never have made a nude where there is a facial expression,"[1] in her interview with Donna Conrad.

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