This is a stunning visual celebration of one of photography's most enduring and evocative subjects. Born like Venus on the half shell from the centuries-long tradition of the nude in painting, the nude first appeared as a subject matter in photography with the introduction of the medium itself, between 1837 and 1840, and has continued as an ever-evolving theme through changing technical developments and cultural mores to the present day. This volume surveys the subject of nudity from the earliest surviving images of Greek and Roman sculpture through studies of living nude models to the burgeoning practice of exploring the human body as pure form. The 78 works, contextualized in the essay "Masterworks of the Nude," span the entire arc of the history of photography in a manner that is both fresh and illuminating. Among the 64 photographers included are 19th-century masters Julia Margaret Cameron, Edgar Degas, and Thomas Eakins; early-20th century artists Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston; mid-20th-century innovators Bill Brandt, Harry Callahan, and Minor White; late-20th-century image makers Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Herb Ritts; and contemporary artists Chuck Close, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, and Mona Kuhn.