The Renaissance Nude and the Female Gaze | Flo Bull



After being challenged to adopt an artistic 'lens' to look at a specific 'object' as part of her Illustration BA, !GWAK artist Flo Bull has produced a series of powerful works that are unapologetic about their subversive approach to the task.

"The lens I chose was the Male Gaze," she explains, "which is the theory that the majority of media we consume is created with heterosexual males in mind as the target audience." Inspired by theories explored in Berger's seminal work Ways of Seeing, Bull applied the contemporary discourse surrounding the 'male gaze' to the traditional depiction of female subjects in Renaissance art: "They are almost always looking at another figure in the painting or looking away-they never challenge the viewer's gaze."


While Bull's new series adopts some of the stylistic framework of the Renaissance nude, her subjects refuse to be at the mercy of the observer. Bold, unashamed and unfiltered, they recognise the eyes that stare, and stare back. They have control over the way they are presented.They have power over, and are empowered by, their bodies. They reclaim the Female Gaze.