In response to the email from the Lakewood scholar, S. commented as follows:
Another point which I think needs to be brought up about nude art is just how ubiquitous it was in Europe, statues, frescoes, and title pages in books, etc., very much influenced by Classical culture, which was of utmost importance in European learning and culture. If you’re in Venice or Prague or any major city in Europe you can’t avoid seeing it. The style of title pages may have changed, as styles do, so it is not surprising that Jewish printing culture changed as well. And eventually these seforim became one, two, and three centuries old and were only seen by individuals. Nudity in art was not ubiquitous in Eretz Yisrael and America, and it is not surprising that we woke up in the 20th century in American and EY and found these things surprising. My point is that it doesn’t necessarily have to do with them seeing breasts as sexual or not (what about thighs and bare midriffs? And seforim even depicted nude women bathing in the mikveh.) It is also important to note that in the writing of many great people they refer to specific editions they used, and it is clear that they saw it and neither defaced or said anything about it. So attitudes might be a European city vs. non-European city thing as well.
Marc B. Shapiro, “Artscroll and More”, The Seforim Blog (29 July 2015), n. 9 [http://seforim.blogspot.com/2015/07/artscroll-and-more.html]