Tate Britain  Linbury Galleries
1 November 2001 – 13 January 2002

The first major exhibition in the new Linbury Galleries at Tate Britain will be Exposed: The Victorian Nude. Opening on 1 November as part of the launch of the new Tate Britain Centenary Development, the exhibition will include outstanding works by Frederic Leighton, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and John Singer Sargent.

Victorian Britain remains notorious for its prudery, and the representation of the nude figure was one of the most controversial issues of the time. However, the nude was one of the most conspicuous categories of visual image at every level, from mass-produced photographs to Royal Academy paintings. Exposed will be the first exhibition to survey the full range of the Victorian nude, both male and female. It will concentrate on the nude in painting, drawing and sculpture, but will also explore other media, including photography, popular illustration and film. The exhibition will examine these works in relation to issues of morality, sexuality and desire that remain as relevant today as they were in Victorian times.

The exhibition is presented in several thematic sections: The English Nude; The Classical Nude; The Private Nude; The Artist’s Studio; Sensation! The Nude in High Art; and The Modern Nude. While cutting across the conventional categories of style and period, these themes suggest a historical narrative that encompasses an astonishing variety of Victorian art. The exhibition takes us from the early, old-masterly work of figures such as William Etty, through Pre-Raphaelitism and Aestheticism, to High Victorian Classicism and the experimental Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art at the end of the period.

The exhibition will demonstrate the importance of the nude for the most famous Victorian artists, including John Everett Millais, Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, James Whistler and Sargent, and also pivotal figures in the history of early English Modernism, including Walter Sickert and Gwen John. Alongside these acknowledged masters, the exhibition will include fascinating works by lesser-known artists, such as Simeon Solomon, Herbert Draper, Henry Scott Tuke and Annie Swynnerton.

Exposed: The Victorian Nude will offer a fresh and challenging vision of Victorian art, and hopes to dismantle notions of Victorian prudery and confront our perceptions of the Victorians and their age.

The exhibition has been curated by Dr Alison Smith, Senior Curator, Tate Britain, author of The Victorian Nude: Sexuality, Morality and Art (1996) and the editor of the fully illustrated catalogue which will accompany the exhibition (£29.99, exhibition price £25, 288pp).

Open daily 10.00-17.50 Last admission 17.00