Art At Noon

Dirty Pictures: A 21st-Century Feminist Introduction to the Nude in Visual Art

Event Information
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General Public
Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos John Vanderlyn

Often depicted without clothing, the human figure was one of the principal subjects for Western visual artists from prehistory to 1900. Since then, nudes have remained a surprisingly popular, and highly controversial, part of painters’ and sculptors’ oeuvres.  Such pieces have proven to be especially problematic in the history of American art.

Inspired by PAFA’s Joan Semmel: Skin In the Game retrospective and looking forward to presenting a February series of talks about eroticism in art, Nancy G. Heller will discuss, and provide deeper contexts for, important examples of art depicting male and female nudes.  This program will focus on works made by women artists, from the late 19th through the early 21st centuries.

Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos, 1809-14
John Vanderlyn (1775-1852)
Oil on canvas, 68 1/2 x 87 in. (174.0 x 221.0 cm.)
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Gift of Mrs. Sarah Harrison (The Joseph Harrison, Jr. Collection), 1878.1.11.

Program Support

The fall's Art-at-Noon lectures are supported by the Behrend Family in memory of Rose Susan Hirschhorn Behrend, a former docent at the Academy and great supporter of its education programs.