With the debates surrounding feminism, gender studies, and, more recently, #MeToo, questions are increasingly being raised about the artistic representation of naked bodies. Yet the nude figure is a universal visual theme, deeply rooted in the history of art. Although appearing in public without clothes was considered shocking in ancient cultures, naked bodies of men, women and children are ubiquitious in the art of Antiquity - most of all in the art of Ancient Greece, which was obsessed with the human form. For the artists and patrons of those days, the depiction of nudity had various associations, for example with immortality, religious sanctity, or the pristine state of nature; even the ideal of civilised man was celebrated through the imagery of the naked body.
Using selected examples from our own collections, the exhibition Naked! illuminates every facet of the art of nudity in the ancient world, probing its meaning and demonstrating its legacy.
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