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Indepth Arts News:

"Exposed: The Victorian Nude"
2001-11-01 until 2002-01-13
Tate Britain
London, , UK United Kingdom

Victorian Britain remains notorious for its prudery, and the representation of the nude figure was one of the most controversial issues of the time. Surprisingly however, the nude was one of the most conspicuous categories of visual image at every level, from mass-produced photographs to Royal Academy paintings.

Exposed will be the first exhibition to survey the full range of the Victorian nude, both male and female. It will concentrate on the nude in painting, drawing and sculpture, but will also explore artistic representations of the naked body in other media, including photography, popular illustration and film. The exhibition will examine these works in relation to issues of morality, sexuality and desire that remain as relevant today as they were then. The exhibition is presented in several thematic sections including The Classical Nude; The Private Nude; The Artist's Studio; Sensation! The Nude in High Art; The Modern Nude. While cutting across the conventional categories of style and period, these themes suggest a historical narrative that encompasses the almost bewildering variety of Victorian art. The exhibition takes us from the early, old-masterly work of figures such as William Etty, through Pre-Raphaelitism and Aestheticism, to High Victorian Classicism and the experimental Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art at the end of the period.

The exhibition will demonstrate the importance of the nude for the most famous Victorian artists, including Millais, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Whistler and Sargent, and also pivotal figures in the history of early English Modernism, including Sickert and Gwen John. Alongside these acknowledged masters, the exhibition will include fascinating works by lesser-known artists, such as Simeon Solomon, Herbert Draper, Theodore Roussel and Henry Scott Tuke.

Exposed: The Victorian Nude will offer a completely fresh and challenging vision of Victorian art, dismantling notions of Victorian prudery and changing our perceptions of the Victorians and their age.

The exhibition has been conceived by Dr Alison Smith, Senior Curator, Tate Britain, and author of The Victorian Nude: Sexuality, Morality and Art and will be co-curated by her, Dr Martin Myrone, Curator for pre-1900 British art at Tate Britain, and Robert Upstone, Tate Collections Curator specialising in nineteenth-century art.

William Etty Canduales
King of Lydia,
Shews his Wife by Stealth to Gyges,
One of his Ministers, as She Goes to Bed
exhibited 1830, Tate 2001

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