COMMENT: Naked truth about art in the right context

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The nude has been a favourite subject of artists throughout the centuries, often as an expression of ideals of both male and female beauty.

As with many things in life, though, art has to be seen in context.

While we have moved on from the prudery of Victorian times, it is only to be expected that nudity will still, in some circumstance, caused raised eyebrows or even objections.

We may have become used, for example, to seeing full or near nudity in many forms of advertising and popular culture, from films and TV to magazines.

But while we may find a poster on the Tube featuring tasteful nudity, or a work by an old master in an art gallery acceptable, we might object if somebody wandered into that gallery or Underground station as naked as the day they were born.

Pornography is a different matter, but we all know what nudity looks like, and most people are not fazed by it in the right context.

Some might say people who have objected to nude paintings being on display in an art exhibition on Portsmouth Cathedral have over-reacted.

But we are all entitled to our opinions and in this case, on balance, the organisers of the exhibition were probably right to removed paintings featuring nude women after objections were raised.

The objections, it seems, were not about the subject matter, but the context in which they were displayed.

Members of the congregation who had entered for a moment of quiet contemplation or prayer were not necessarily offended by the nude paintings, but they found them to be too ‘in your face’ in such holy surroundings.

They are entitled to their opinion and, although we are living in the 21st century, we must all accept that life is not a free-for-all and that other people’s opinions are as relevant as our own