This study focuses on the series of naked pregnant paintings created by American figurative painter Alice Neel between 1964 and 1978. The aim of the study is to highlight the artist’s unique approach within the Western art tradition concerning the representation of the pregnant female body and the subject of pregnancy. The work delves into the the impact of Neel’s life story, artistic perspective and the social conditions of the era in which she lived on her creation of naked pregnant paintings. Additionally, it attempts to explain the relationship between the formal structure of selected paintings from Neel’s naked pregnant paintings and their expression. In the process of creating this study, key works depicting pregnancy in Western art, 20th century American art and visual an written sources related to Alice Neel were examined. Neel’s series of naked pregnant paintings is associated with two distinct themes within Western art tradition, the reclining nude and the pregnant woman. In both contexts, the artist presented a different understanding compared to predecessors and contemporaries, challenging social norms and artistic expectations. Alice Neel transformed the traditional approach to the pregnant figure in Western art, turning the image of the pregnant woman, which had been detached from human experiences, into an active, simutaneously strong and fragile, conscious existence.
Keywords: Alice Neel, Pregnant, Naked, Body, Portrait, Realism