Survey Reveals Naked Men More Popular in UK Art Galleries

Published September 11th, 2018 - 03:00 GMT
The Manchester Art Gallery received criticism earlier this year after removing from display an 1896 painting by John William Waterhouse depicting seven topless nymphs luring a man into a pond (Shutterstock/File Photo)
The Manchester Art Gallery received criticism earlier this year after removing from display an 1896 painting by John William Waterhouse depicting seven topless nymphs luring a man into a pond (Shutterstock/File Photo)

A survey has found more naked men than women appear on the walls of many art galleries across the country.

There has been many complaints about the objectification of women in light of the #METoo movement.

Many art galleries across Britain are reviewing their collections in an effort to promote gender equality.

To shine a light on the issue, an informal survey was conducted by researchers from The Sunday Times on the nipples and genitals on display in five British galleries.

The survey comes after the Royal Academy of Arts announced that its upcoming exhibition of nudes will reflect art in the #MeToo era and include a split of male and female artworks.

 

 

At the National Gallery, researchers counted 44 paintings displaying female nudes but only 16 showing naked men. There were 13 sets of visible female genitals but only three male sets.

While there was 27 paintings featuring male nudes versus 21 featuring female nudes, and six male statues versus eight female.

There was 16 examples of male genitals on display versus nine female at Tate Britain but it was women were in the lead - 33 to 16 - in the more modest nude depictions.

Meanwhile at the Wallace Collection, there was more male genitals than women's by 13 to nine. But there were 51 female nudes and just 22 male. As well as this there was 88 pairs of female nipples visible and only 34 male pairs.

No paintings with a male nude was seen at Manchester Art Gallery, while there was six female nudes in paintings. But nude male statues outnumbered female by seven to three.

At the National Gallery, there was 44 paintings displaying female nudes but only 16 of them featured naked men. However there was 13 sets of visible female genitals but only three male sets.

The RA's exhibition, The Renaissance Nude, which opens in March, will feature works by Michelangelo, Leonardo, Titian and Raphael.

The academy's artistic director, Tim Marlow, said a gender quota is not about to become the gallery's rule, adding: 'in a subject exploring the Renaissance nude in a historic period, it seems a very interesting exercise to do'.

In 1989 American feminist group, the Guerrilla Girls first turned gender disparity in art into a public controversy.

It complained that only 5% of the modern artworks in New York's Metropolitan Museum were created by women, in stark contrast to 85% of nude subjects being of women.

The group produced a poster: 'Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum?'

Upon their return to the museum, 23 years later, the number of female nudes had fallen, but only to 76%.

The sculptors of ancient Rome and Athens did not discriminate by gender.

In many Italian piazzas as they are filled with marble sculptures of both naked men and women.

Michelangelo's David, which can be seen at Florence Accademia, is the world's most prominently displayed penis.

London's National Gallery attempted to improve its gender record last July when it bought a rare selfportrait by 17thcentury Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi for a record £3.6m. It became only the 20th work by a woman in the gallery's collection.

The Manchester Art Gallery received criticism earlier this year after removing from display an 1896 painting by John William Waterhouse depicting seven topless nymphs luring a man into a pond.

It claimed it intended to 'prompt conversations about how we display artworks'.

One critic asked if it was really proposed to judge the artistic legacy of the past 2,000 years or more by the standards of what is currently fashionable in the newspapers?

Following the backlash, the picture has since been put back on display.

The nipples on show in paintings in Manchester today stands at 60 female, 22 male.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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