Venus pudica

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1486). Wikimedia Commons (from Google Art Project)

Definition:

(noun) - "Venus pudica" is a term used to describe a classic figural pose in Western art. In this, an unclothed female (either standing or reclining) keeps one hand covering her private parts. (She is a modest lass, this Venus.) The resultant pose - which is not, incidentally, applicable to the male nude - is somewhat asymmetrical and often serves to draw one's eye to the very spot being hidden.

The word "pudica" comes to us by way of the Latin "pudendus", which can mean either external genitalia or shame, or both simultaneously.

Pronunciation: vee·nus pud·ee·kuh