How the Church Tolerated Nudity in Renaissance Art

Mason West
3 min readDec 24, 2018
Ulysses and Penelope, c. 1545. Francesco Primaticcio (1505–1570). Oil on canvas. Toledo Museum of Art.

Through the dark ages the Church preserved the art, books, and ideas of the ancients as the essence of Western civilization. As the Renaissance brought these materials to light for the first time in centuries, the ancient gods and myths weren’t viewed as divinities and scripture, which would have been a heresy in strangely monotheistic, triune Christianity, but as allegories imbued with the wisdom of…

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