The real queen of the naked photo shoot: Madonna's long history of posing nude

Sorry, Kim K -- Madge has been stripping down since the '70s. Here are some highlights

Published December 2, 2014 8:12PM (EST)

A still from Madonna's "Gimme All Your Luvin'" video.      (<a href=''></a>)
A still from Madonna's "Gimme All Your Luvin'" video. (

As we all know, last month, Kim "#breaktheinternet” Kardashian's naked booty graced the cover of Paper magazine. But not everyone was impressed. Madonna, for one, who has never been shy about pushing boundaries when it comes to nudity, responded to the cover shoot by instagramming a photo of a “censored” banner covering her exposed breasts, with the caption "Its confusing. Nipples are considered forbidden and provocative but exposing your ass is not. #flummoxed."

And in this month’s Interview magazine, Madonna proved that she’s still the reigning queen of stripping down in public, posing topless for the photo shoot that accompanied her interview with magician David Blaine. While it seems like a new star is making headlines every week by stripping down (Keira Knightley, Rihanna et al.), it's worth remembering that Madge was one of the first stars to unapologetically bare it all, and has been courting controversy about her exposed breasts  since Kim was a mere twinkle in Kris Jenner's eye. Let us review some of the great naked Madonna shoots of yore:

1977: Herman Kulkens takes the first-ever naked photos of Madonna, when she is an 18-year-old University of Michigan dance student. Unlike the leather-clad bondage images Madge will display in her "Sex" book a decade and a half later, these photos have a quaint, raided-the-school-costume-cupboard charm to them: One shows Madonna brushing another women's hair while perched on a bearskin rug, while another features her in cowboy boots, belt and hat, but nothing else.

1985: The Madonna nude photo boom begins, as Playboy and Penthouse enter a fraught bidding war over a series of pre-fame nudes taken during a number of art class photo shoots during the late ‘70s (black and white, simply styled with heavy bush, these photos are pretty normcore). Black-and-white nude photos appear in the September 1985 issue of Playboy. A few days later, Penthouse followed up with a 17-page spread with naked pictures taken by photographer Bill Stone.

"Playboy claimed victory Tuesday in a race with Penthouse to publish nude pictures of the rock star Madonna, releasing the cover of a September issue which blares 'Madonna Nude - Unlike a Virgin,'” the AP declared at the time. It was kind of like the space race, only about Madonna's boobs.

1990: Madonna is photographed by Helmut Newton on the cover of Vanity Fair. This is the second time the star’s naked breasts have been exposed after the 1985 Playboy/Penthouse frenzy. At this point, Madge is rocking the blond hair, red lips look, and the shots have a sultry old-world glamour to them.

1992:  Madonna produces her iconic coffee table book, "Sex," featuring a series of erotic photos of herself, often in provocative S/M positions and playing out explicit sexual fantasies. In it, Madonna shares her feelings about sex under the pseudonym Mistress Dita, writing "I love my pussy, it is the complete summation of my life." She also experienced a pre-Internet photo hack: While some photographs were stolen during the book’s production, the FBI recovered them, and Madonna thanked them in the credits for “rescuing photographs that would have made J. Edgar Hoover roll over."

Despite selling more than 150,000 copies the day it rolled out and hitting the bestseller list, the book was extremely controversial and received overwhelmingly negative reviews at the time. This is basically peak naked Madonna, and if there was an Internet back then, it would have been broken.

1992: Madonna teams up with another high-profile provocateur, Jean Paul Gaultier, posing with her boobs out at the designer's 1992 runway show. That year, she is photographed topless everywhere from Vogue to Vanity Fair, and while some of the photos are tasteful, a Vanity Fair shoot called “Madonna in Wonderland," featuring Madge in a swing set, hugging a teddy bear and with pigtails, is a little on the infantilizing side.

1993: This year, Madge is naked in "Dangerous Game" and "Body of Evidence." In later movies "The Next Best Thing" and "Swept Away," she also gets naked. What’s the fun of being in a movie otherwise?

2012: Madonna poses topless in the ad campaign for her new fragrance "Truth or Dare,” with a black censor bar strategically covering any offending areas. The pics are no more explicit than most magazine ads, but since the perfume is called "Naked," it certainly fits the through-line.

Around this time ... Madonna gets Instagram, so naturally she shares quite a few revealing selfies (although none with any explicit content) mostly of the #tbt variety. Instagram, meanwhile, reportedly threatens to close her account for violating their community guidelines about nudity and mature content. Instagram, do you not know who Madonna is?

May 2014: Just a few months ago,  Madge posed topless in a shoot for L’Uomo Vogue Italy. In black leather gloves and leotard, Madge proves that at 56, she's still got it.

By Anna Silman

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Interview Magazine Kim Kardashian Madonna Nudity Video