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Exposed: The Victorian Nude Hardcover – 1 May 2002

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications (1 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823016331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823016334
  • Product Dimensions: 30.6 x 24.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 609,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Pots TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
The nude is a frequent feature of classical figurative painting and sculpture, but its presence has always stirred emotion, debate and controversy, not least in the Victorian era. This book, and the exhibition which it accompanied (the first to tackle this subject), explores this subject in some depth, using a sensible balance of images and words. With such a broad subject, there are any number of artworks one could use as examples, though this book obviously concentrates on the works that made it into the exhibition.

The book covers, so to speak, the English nude, before moving on to the classical nude, and then to artworks created for private exhibition. Each artwork is described in a few paragraphs, but generally does not have much to say about the nudity or its context. The text tends to focus on artistic technique, influences, training and so on. That's fine but it doesn't tell us much about the purpose of the nude in the composition. However, what we do see as we leaf from page to page is a gradual change in style, pose, context and and meaning in artworks, from classical to modern. It is a fascinating history nonetheless, and makes apparent, to the non-artist anyway, that nudity had a firm and a largely accepted presence in Victorian art. The controversy seems to come later, when we begin to see nudity used more obviously for entertainment, in artworks that either use flimsy intellectual contexts, or make no attempt at all at justifying the nudity in any higher sense. This is evident particularly in Victorian photography.

Putting the subject aside, the book amounts to an excellent collection of Victorian art, featuring large prints of many great artworks. It also includes many academic studies of the kind that will be familiar to anyone studying classical portraiture.

Overall, it's a pleasing coffee-table book that, far from being shocking, is actually rather beautiful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A4 size book of 278 glossy pages of the nude in British Art (male and female). Has loads of explanations with the pictures. Great value for money at £10. One of the best purchases I've made
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1 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Freeman on 20 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Useful publication, but could have received a much more extensive treatment. As a second-hand book, ok: poorly packaged.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Exposed: A Beautiful Book Reveals a Controvesial Subject 4 Nov. 2002
By Sherry L. Ross - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Exposed: A beautiful and Informative Book about a Controversial Topic
What surprised and delighted me most, by both the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, and by this wonderful text that accompanied the show and is now available to purchase, is the unbiased historical approach to the theme of Victorian Nudes and Sexuality. Most museums and texts that dare to present 19th century Victorian and academically rendered art (art in the realist tradition taught by the academic art schools of the period) have accompanying text that is tongue-in-cheek or satirically critical of this artwork. But this book, as the exhibition (which was organized and sponsored by the Tate Britain museum in England) gives serious insight into the Victorian controversy of nudity and sexuality. "Exposed: The Victorian Nude" explains with respect, what the artists of that era were trying to do. It analyses the social climate of the time, the innovative and daring works of the period's masters, as well as lesser artists, and shows the influence this art had on popular trends and views. The book is also rich in color plates and is a visual delight as well as a wealth of historical knowledge. There are fine examples of paintings by Frederic Leighton, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Evelyn De Morgan, Herbert Draper, Anna Lea Merritt, Annie Swynnnerton, John William Waterhouse, Philip Hermogenes Calderon, Edward John Poynter, Albert Moore, George Frederic Watts and Earnest Normand. There are also fabulous drawings by William Mulready, William Holman Hunt, Ford Madox Brown, and John Everett Millais as well as photos of great sculpture of the period. This impressive book would make a wonderful holiday gift for anyone interested in the Victorian Era. If you are interested in my complete review of this book and show, with many examples of the colored plates from the book and descriptions of the paintings, you make find the review at [...] This site, The Art Renewal Center, is the largest on-line museum on the Internet and is a non-profit art educational organization. The review may be found in the top menu under Articles/latest articles/ "Exposed: The Victorian Nude" by Sherry Lazarus Ross.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful and informative 25 Sept. 2004
By wiredweird - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is almost two books in one. The first book is just in the pictures, reproductions of paintings, photos, and even a few cartoons that celebrate the figure. The pictorial reading is hugely informative by itself. The authors place each picture in the historical or visual context that led up to it - showing related pictures that might have informed the one being discussed, or displaying cartoons that editorialize on the figure in then-contemporary art.

One thing that's hard for a modern viewer is to see the pictures through Victorian eyes, with Victorian sensibilities. Nudity often represented innocence, invoking Edenic times before modesty (and immodesty, by implication) arose. This seems true, most often, when depicting youths and children. A modern viewer is free to wonder, though - weren't a few artists, Charles Dodgson included, just a bit shrill in protesting their innocent motives?

The second reading of this book is in its explanatory text, an even partner with the imagery itself. This is what a picture book's text should be, but too rarely is. It really does add insight to the images. Sometimes the writing explains mythical references that are now obscure, sometimes it describes the artist and that artist's place in society, sometimes it explains how competing schools of thought created pictures with specific features of style. In every case, though, the reading is worthwhile, if only because it invites the reader to linger just a little longer over each of the pictures shown.

The artists represented here all honor classical human beauty in its many forms, male, female, and child. That explains one of two lacks I found in this book. First was the absence of mature figures, especially among the women. It was and often still is implicit that only the young can be beautiful. This error deprives fully adult women of their due, and deprives the viewer of a wider vision of human wonder. Second, this book emphasizes the classical, formal style of painting. I miss the other kinds of images that were also being made at the time, especially the Impressionist. The first lack I attribute to the artists of the time, but the second was introduced by the modern editors. It's a minor point, though, and does not interfere with the enjoyment of what is present.

This is a book worth having and keeping, for its inherent beauty, for its intelligent commentary, and for its presentation of painters I might not have known otherwise.

Five Stars 24 Oct. 2014
By rdelas - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nice pictures nicely edited. All nice!!!!!
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Very disappointing 20 Oct. 2006
By AB90000 - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good concept, title, and cover... but lacking good pictures. Any most pictures are very small. Lots of good writing, though.
7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Fair; but better to see art by Bouguereau 30 Mar. 2007
By Mark A. Weiss - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Book is big but only fair. A lot of text -- somewhat interesting, but not profoundly so. The photos -- none are really titillating, if that's what you're after. The best art -- clothed or nude -- of this type is Bougeureau. See books (there are only a couple) about him. (I reviewed one.) Waterhouse is also good. But Waterhouse's women always have the same androgonous hard unfriendly faces. Bouguereau has more variety than Waterhouse very pretty faces as well as other parts. Even if all you want are titillating nudes, you are more likely to find it with Bouguereau than in this book. If lots of mood, but unpleasant faces is OK, Waterhouse gives you plenty of mood. Bouguereau also gives mood but in a greater variety. And all his body parts are beautifully rendered. If you want lots and lots of text, this book is fine. But even the text about Bouguereau is more profound than what is here.
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