Aside from seeming obviously inappropriate for a good Jewish boy/girl, what are the halachik issues involved in drawing from a nude model? Are there any distinctions with regard to men/women?

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    this is not really an answer, but I will take the opportunity to recommend Chaim Potok's novel "My Name Is Asher Lev" about a young chassidic prodigy artist struggling with many related issues. The sequel, "The Gift of Asher Lev" was a major disappointment.
    – Jeremy
    Jan 14, 2010 at 20:49
  • yes yes, I've read it. I was going to mention the book in the question itself, but I was not sure how to fit it in, heh heh. I'm in the process of researching this issue myself, so once I gather enough info I'll post an answer if no one beats me to it.
    – cube
    Jan 14, 2010 at 22:01
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    pritzus is one lo sikrivu li'galos ervah is another
    – alicht
    Feb 6, 2019 at 15:02

2 Answers 2


Hirhur--thinking about prohibited sexual things.

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    nudity is not necessarily sexual
    – TRiG
    Mar 24, 2013 at 1:47
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    My understanding was that nudity is generally understood to provoke sexual thoughts.
    – andrewmh20
    Mar 24, 2013 at 1:56

I asked my rabbi about this many years ago. He said that if you need the art class to learn your trade, then it's allowed. (men or women doesn't make a difference). If you are taking the art class to get an easy grade, or just as a minor elective for fun, then it is not allowed.

I can also tell you from experience, that sexual thoughts are far far away from your mind, if you are seriously taking the class to learn. Though I did skip the session when two models were posing together.

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    It would be helpful if you provided sources to support the notion, that one is allowed to gaze at erotica for the purpose of "learning a trade". Could the "trade" not be learned with dressed models? Is one allowed to draw erotica as his "trade"? How about working as a videographer for an erotic movie? The fact that you claim that sexual thoughts are far far away from your mind, doesn't make your claim believable, nor does that mean that all others are as insensitive to such sexual stimulation. Feb 6, 2019 at 15:19
  • It's what my Rabbi told me after he asked his Rabbi from Ner Israel. I don't know how somebody can be having sexual thoughts while trying to get shading and composition correct, but maybe there are people who are better at thinking of multiple things at once than I was. You also are confusing drawing nude models with erotica. They are not the same thing. The question was about nude models, not drawing erotica.
    – avi
    Feb 6, 2019 at 17:15
  • I admit that I'm not a בקי in the subtle difference between nudes and erotica. However I believe that the common denominator between them is that they're intended to appeal to sexual desire and arouse sexual feelings. Feb 6, 2019 at 21:30
  • Would you call a nude cadaver that a doctor uses to learn anatomy erotica? When they use nude models in art classes it is to teach anatomy, and how the muscles and bones move, and how light affects them. Nothing sexual about it.
    – avi
    Feb 7, 2019 at 12:51
  • Doctors in training studying cadavers, can be justified on the grounds of "pikuach nefesh", for future healing. "Hirhur" would be prohibited, regardless. Feb 7, 2019 at 19:23

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