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From time immemorial, artists have been involved in recreating and representing the human body in works of art. Human body has not only been used for art but for other purposes like for exploration in medical fields, as an educational tool and for other scientific investigations. Representation of the human body in art is ideally a work of art. However, it can be taken to represent a social instrument, a channel with which history is carried from one generation to another. It has been used to represent the subject matter in many works of art.


Bodies in works of art represent an artist`s message, the viewers imaginations and the subject matter. Viewers are audience who read, touch and watch a piece of art. The subject matter, as a body, is what an entire work of art is all about. The main idea that a piece of art brings to being becomes its body.

In ancient world, renaissance artists believed that human body in a work of art should bear a perfect personification of balance and symmetry in equal measure. The body became a    visible and concrete medium through which an artist could convey codes of aesthetics that were interpreted to be standards of ethics in artistry.

Viewers in a work of art portray a complete picture in art. For a work of art to be complete it should have a subject matter, characters that help bring out the subject matter and people to whom the piece of work was intended for. Most works of art are created for entertainment and educational purposes. The people to be educated or entertained are become viewers. This implies that viewers are an integral part of works of art. They become a body of importance in works of art. Viewers can vary in terms of age. They can be children, teens or adults.  The subject matter that is evident in a work of art is what determines the kind of viewers it attracts. A different kind of subject matter attracts different kinds of viewers in terms of age gender and individual affiliations.

The element of beauty has been brought out in many works of art using the human body. The human body is a perennial object of culture that has a wider meaning. The concept of body limits us to a particular work of art. It is a question of thematic nature of objectification of the body in works of art. The body is often used as a model in works of art for example, in plastic moldings, sculptures and painting. It appears that the body is viewed as an object and theme since a significant difference is often noted. In painting or sculpture, human body remains a representation that elaborates the artist’s point of view. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, new visions of human figure had to cope up with the matter of form and content. The manipulation of subject matter means that representations of human body is used in paintings and coloring to depict some hidden aspects of art.

It should be pointed out that a distinction is vital from the point of reference to the ethos of the body in works of art. When an artistic reproduction becomes a subject of representation, it loses contact with human body and becomes an anonymous object.

Metaphysics is a philosophical subdivision that entails the study of fundamental nature of being and world. The viewer as a body in a work of art is very important. Works of art without audience is incomplete. Works of art are brought in to being to be consumed by viewers who bring out criticism and appreciate the work. Without audience, work of art lacks a place where its importance can be tested to see whether it is a success or failure in bringing out its subject matter. When created, works of art usually target certain groups of viewers whether in writing or visual forms. Therefore, viewers are an important body in any work of art. The viewers must exist for a work of art to be complete.

The subject matter as a body in a work of art is cannot be ignored. A work of art must carry a subject matter in it. A work of art must carry an issue that it aims to address. The subject matter in a work of art is a literal and visible manifestation that is distinguished from its content which includes the connotative, symbolic and suggestive issues of the image. The subject matter depicts the main purpose of the work of art and communicates a likeness of an individual or groups of individuals. Thus the subject, as a body in a work of art, must be brought out clearly.

While there are many accomplishments from which we can justify art, we need to be open to interpretations of our roles and the changing behavior of the audience to whom the art experience is dramatized to.

The subject matter of an art work may be religious either in the positive sense of revealing a confidence in meaning of life or in the negative sense of confidence of absence in meaning of life.

Different works of art may carry many forms of subject matter in art works. A still life for instance, is a type of work of art that carries an inanimate subject matter.  Common objects that may either be natural for example rocks, big water bodies, and land or manmade items for example jewelry, glasses and sculptures can be made subject matter in pieces of art work.  The human spirit is depicted in works of art in dreams, visions and experiences.


The body, art and the viewers are three aspects that go hand in hand in works of art. Not any of them can be secluded from the rest. Art uses bodies to bring out its subject matter and viewers to ascertain the relevance of the subject matter through criticisms and appreciation. Thus the three aspects will always go together for a work of art to be taken as complete.

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