Olympia by Manet The naked and the nude[ edit ] While there is no single definition of fine art, there are certain generally accepted features of most definitions. In the fine arts, the subject is not merely copied from nature, but transformed by the artist into an aesthetic object, usually without significant utilitarian, commercial advertising , illustration , or purely decorative purposes. There is also a judgement of taste; the fine art nude being part of high culture rather than middle brow or low culture. During most of the twentieth century, the depiction of human beauty was of little interest to modernists, who were concerned instead with the creation of beauty through formal means.
The Minoan civilization prized athleticism, with bull-leaping being a favourite event. Both men and women participated wearing only a loincloth, as toplessness for both sexes was the cultural norm; men wore loincloths, whilst women wore an open-fronted dress. Sparta had rigorous codes of training agoge and physical exercise was conducted in the nude. Athletes competed naked in public sporting events. Spartan women, as well as men, would sometimes be naked in public processions and festivals. This practice was designed to encourage virtue in men while they were away at war and an appreciation of health in the women.