Rejecting the traditional portrayal of naked bodies, as manifested throughout art history, Roy Lichtenstein’s Nudes of 1994 reduce the female figure to its simplest form. Lichtenstein in this series returns to the comic-book heroines that first propelled him to the forefront of the Pop Art movement in the 1960s.
In Two Nudes we find a female figure with partly bright yellow hair lying face down in bed, while another figure, composed entirely of vibrant red dots, rests her hands tenderly on her back. The print employs an extensive flow of Ben Day dots to flatten the foreground against the background.
Certain features within the interior are emphasised, like the purple vase, the bright yellow carpet and the blue and red wall. These elements invoke a three-dimensional pictorial space in certain parts of the composition. Lichtenstein successfully contrasts the figures’ neutral curvaceous forms to these colourful angular shapes.
Lichtenstein’s Nudes first and foremost expose the highly sexualised portrayal of women throughout art history, as well as in contemporary society. While beholders might initially feel encouraged to observe the intimate scenes, they also feel strongly discouraged from intruding. The series draws attention to the blatant voyeurism exercised by viewers in such an instance. Additionally, these prints offer a perfect distillation of Lichtenstein’s graphic lexicon.