Naked Eye

Photo: Courtesty of the Demorgan Foundation

Imagine rooms filled with pictures of naked women who blush, pant, and sigh. Some are tied up with ropes. Others fancy large snakes. The offices of Maxim? Actually, it’s the Brooklyn Museum’s new show on Victorian England.

“Exposed: The Victorian Nude” will feature 150 works – including painting, sculpture, and photography. Many of the period’s biggest names are here – Edwin Landseer, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Aubrey Beardsley, Edward Burne-Jones.

Examining “the nude” gives curators the opportunity not only to “expose” prudery but also to open a window onto the Victorian soul. But such academics shouldn’t detract from the sheer campy pleasure of a painting like Faithful Unto Death, which shows naked Christians (all with Pilates-perfect bodies) about to be devoured by lions in a Roman arena. They look like they are awaiting Xena, the Warrior Princess.

Exposed: The Victorian Nude
Brooklyn Museum of Art
September 6 to January 5.

Naked Eye