If you’ve ever taken a child to an art museum, chances are that they’ll quickly point out that “those people don’t have any clothes on!” Nude art—whether in paintings or statues—has been part of our artistic tradition for thousands of years, but that doesn’t stop kids from getting the giggles.
As a parent, you might hesitate and wonder whether you should be allowing your children to see these images. After all, we’re becoming more and more conscious that pornography does great harm to children and to adults and will go to great lengths to protect our children from exposure to naked images.
However, while both pornography and a lot of art show unclothed people, there are some key distinctions. The primary one is that pornography is designed to arouse people sexually. At least when we’re speaking of classical nude art, its purpose is to show the beauty of the human form—usually with an air of innocence and beauty.
So should your children look at nude art? Should you? Here are a few points to consider:
Do you personally find nude art to be sexually provocative?
Regardless of the artist’s intent, if you find nude forms to be a source of temptation for you, then you may choose to stay away. Especially if you are struggling with using pornography, if this kind of art is a trigger, there are always other galleries in the art museum!
Are you willing to talk to your children about art?
Chances are, your kids will be stifling some laughs when they see pieces of nude art. That’s a pretty normal kid reaction. However, it also can be a great opportunity to let them know that the human body is something designed by God to be beautiful. In fact, artists considered it to be one of the greatest skills to be able to effectively capture the magnificence of the human form. While there are some images and videos that seek to degrade our bodies and sexuality, this art shows the wonder of God’s creation.
Does your child feel comfortable asking you questions about the human body?
When it comes to building a relationship of trust with our kids, these questions can lead to important learning moments. Your younger kids might have questions about the human body itself and the difference in female and male body parts. Older kids may feel a bit uncomfortable, confused about why they feel embarrassed or even attracted to the art. This can actually be a great, safe, opportunity to talk about a little bit about human sexuality or simply to experience together that the naked human body itself is actually good and beautiful, when depicted in the right way.
So will you take your kids to art museums where they’ll see nude art? It will probably depend on your personal circumstances. But if you do, prepare yourself that your kids might have questions. Or they may not pay much attention at all—after all, the human body is one of the most natural things in the world.