Archive for June 17th, 2007

The Naked Portrait

We went round The Naked Portrait exhibition at the Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh today.    Almost 200 portraits of people in the nude – paintings, photographs and so on.     And all shapes, sizes and ages were on display.

It was quite a challenging exhibition.    We are presented with endless sexualised images of scantily clad beautiful people everywhere.   Advertising, magazines, newspapers and so on.   So to appreciate  all sorts of people in their natural state required a rather different mindset.

Most portraits were of people the artists knew really well;   themselves,  their partners or close relatives.   There were some others:  Peter Howson’s portrait of Madonna was there,  the iconic photo of Christine Keeler in that black chair by Lewis Morley and David Bailey’s portrait of Jane Birkin.

There was a lot to enjoy in this.    However, all in all, in the end I think I prefer people with their clothes on.   And I did ask myself as I went round how I would feel trying to paint a nude.   I can’t draw/paint for toffee, but I imagine  the outline would be OK, but the details would be …. difficult.   How on earth do you go about painting all the detail on those hairy bits?

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