Exposed: The Victorian Nude

Overview

The epitome of high culture or an assault on public morality? The nude figure was one of the most controversial issues in Victorian art. It was also one of the most conspicuous categories for the visual image at every level, from elite paintings for the Royal Academy to mass-produced photographs and magazine illustrations.

Exposed: The Victorian Nude provides a fascinating overview of the nude figure—both male and female—and the intriguing role it played in Victorian art. While ...

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Overview

The epitome of high culture or an assault on public morality? The nude figure was one of the most controversial issues in Victorian art. It was also one of the most conspicuous categories for the visual image at every level, from elite paintings for the Royal Academy to mass-produced photographs and magazine illustrations.

Exposed: The Victorian Nude provides a fascinating overview of the nude figure—both male and female—and the intriguing role it played in Victorian art. While it concentrates on painting, sculpture, and drawing, this beautifully illustrated reference also explores the depiction of the body in other media—including photography, popular illustration, advertising, and caricature—and discusses the issues of morality, uality, and desire that are relevant even today. Since nudes were an important subject for most Victorian artists, Exposed: The Victorian Nude showcases dazzling artwork from such legendary masters as Millais, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Whistler, and Sargent, as well as pivotal figures of early English modernism. Cutting across the conventional categories of style and period, this guide offers a fresh, engrossing vision of Victorian art and culture unmatched anywhere else.

• Beautifully produced and full of breathtaking artwork

• Nudes are perennially popular with art lovers

• Book serves as a catalog for a traveling exhibition from the prestigious Tate Gallery that will visit several US museums, beginning with the Brooklyn Museum in September 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The art form that caused such a headache among other discomforts for the Victorians is the subject of Exposed: The Victorian Nude, which explores depictions of the body in 19th-century British art. Tate curator Alison Smith (The Victorian Nude: Sexuality, Morality, and Art) looks at the unprecedented proliferation of nudes (previously rare in British art) under Victoria's reign, and at the passionate debates they provoked about decency and art. Though Smith touches on photography and illustration, she focuses mainly on painting, with full-color reproductions of works by Rossetti, Burne-Jones and others. The book accompanies a Tate exhibition that will travel to the U.S. this fall, including a stop at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York City, where the new mayor seems less of a cultural watchdog than his predecessor. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Serving as the catalog for the first major exhibition in the Linbury Galleries at the Tate Museum in London, this sumptuous and sensual volume focuses primarily on painting, though it does include drawings, sculpture, and early forms of photography and silent film stills. Smith, whose Victorian Nude: Sexuality, Morality, and Art provided a broad cultural context of the topic, showcases work by John Singer Sargent, Frederic Leighton, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and others. The works are organized into six categories: "The English Nude," "The Classical Nude," "The Private Nude," "The Artist's Studio," "Sensation!: The Nude in High Art," and "The Modern Nude." The unlikely juxtaposition of Victorian mores with nude imagery provides an alternate sensibility to Victorian England, both enlightening the mind and pleasing the eye. Three richly illustrated essays by Smith, Martin Myrone, and Michael Hyatt frame the work. All academic and larger public libraries should own this title. Rebecca Tolley-Stokes, East Tennessee State Univ. Libs., Johnson City Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823016334
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 12.06 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison Smith is a curator at Tate Britain and the author of The Victorian Nude: Sexuality, Morality, and Art. She lives in London, England.

Good To Know

In our interview, Smith shared some fun facts about herself:

"I love oysters! I will only eat them raw. Last summer my friends and I rented a house for a week on Long Island. We bought an oyster knife and fresh oysters from the local fisherman and learned to shuck them ourselves. Then we had an oyster eating contest. I ate 30 in one sitting."

"The current song with which I am obsessed: Rod Stewart's Maggie May. Yes, you heard right, Rod Stewart. Listen to it -- it's a good song -- great lyrics. And the mandolin at the end -- lovely."

"When I am completely stuck with a piece of writing, I like to try standing on my head and talking myself through it. There is something about being upside down that can help me shift into a new mode."

"When I was in grade school I wanted to be a farmer so that I could hang out with the livestock. When I was in high school I wanted to be a cemeterologist so that I could hang out in Mount Hope Cemetery all day taking rubbings of gravestones. When I was in college, I though that I would be a teacher -- in order to do something useful with my life. I thought being a writer was too self-indulgent."

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    1. Hometown:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 12, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      Rochester, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Brown University, 1992
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Sponsor's Foreword 6
Foreword 7
Acknowledgements 9
The Nude in Nineteenth-Century Britain: 'The English Nude' 11
Prudery, Pornography and the Victorian Nude (Or, what do we think the butler saw?) 23
Thoughts and Things: Sculpture and the Victorian Nude 37
Catalogue 50
Abbreviations 51
The English Nude 52
The Classical Nude 86
The Private Nude 128
The Artist's Studio 184
Sensation! The Nude in High Art 208
The Modern Nude 248
Bibliography 280
Lenders and Credits 283
Index 284
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