Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

%22Hylas+and+the+Nymphs%22+%281896%29+by+John+William+Waterhouse%2C+shows+a+scene+from+the+ancient+Greek+mythology%2C+in+which+a+young+man+is+lured+by+nymphs+into+the+pond+and+ultimately+into+death.

"Hylas and the Nymphs" (1896) by John William Waterhouse, shows a scene from the ancient Greek mythology, in which a young man is lured by nymphs into the pond and ultimately into death.

"Hylas and the Nymphs" (1896) by John William Waterhouse, shows a scene from the ancient Greek mythology, in which a young man is lured by nymphs into the pond and ultimately into death.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Print page

“Hylas and the Nymphs” is the name of the artwork that has caused a heated debate among museum visitors, artists, and critics: A museum in Manchester took down a painting of naked women. Many people are outraged by this.

The painting of the English artist John William Waterhouse depicts the Greek fighter Hylas: The handsome young man is encircled by seven naked women, who show their affection for him. What is going to happen on the painting is only implied by the scene; but, the name of it speaks for itself.

With the women’s depiction on the painting, the Manchester Art Gallery decided to temporarily remove it from the exhibition, in order to provoke a debate about sexism in art. How are we supposed to treat pictures, in which women are portrayed as possible sexobjects for men? Taking down the artwork was part of an independent art performance, and partially inspired by the #MeToo debate, stated the museum. “This museum presents the female body as either ‘passive-decorative’ or ‘femme fatale’. Let us challenge this victorian fantasy!”, said curator Clare Gannaway.

However, not everybody is delighted about the museum’s action. Critics accuse the Manchester Art Gallery for conducting censorship. Artist Michael Browne claims that this action may cause negative consequences for other artworks in the future. On Twitter, under the hashtag #MAGSoniaBoyce, a discussion regarding censorship in art and the content of a picture emerged.

The spot in which the painting used to hang is now for the time being a place where visitors can post notes on and express their opinions. The museum also gives the opportunity for online discussion on their homepage. There, many critical voices have accumulated. “I am afraid about us starting to only show what is considered acceptable”, were the thoughts of a visitor. “These paintings depict outdated viewpoints from the past; however, one would expect that this is pretty obvious to today’s viewers”, wrote another visitor.

Museum visitors are free to express their opinion on this by posting notes onto the wall where the painting used to hang.

The painting is supposed to be displayed again in September. Until then, visitors have to content themselves with pictures of “Hylas and the Nymphs” from the internet because even the postcards with the painting on in the museum shop have been put away.

 

(Translated from the German weekly news magazine Stern)

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women”

  1. Ich on March 23rd, 2018 8:17 am

    I personally am impressed by the museum’s idea and courage to carry out such action. Despite of some criticism, I believe it is a thought-provoking topic that is worth talking about instead of avoided. My opinion on this is that no matter how indecent and obscene an artwork may appear, it should never be burdened with censorship. Art has no restrictions, and makes it possible to put out imaginations, fantasies, all the impossible things that either cannot be realized or are not allowed to be. It should be left alone the way it is. And in the end, it depends on the individual himself of how he perceives an artwork. A censorship generalizes an opinion on a work, and makes it automatically taboo for everybody. This not only takes away an artist’s freedom but the freedom of an observer as well.

  2. MHFooL on April 3rd, 2018 8:37 am

    In my opinion, I think that taking down the painting was a horrible decision. Not only it caused outrage in the public, but I also think that the museum has ruined their reputation. Paintings, specifically, naked people in painting has been a part of Greek culture since the beginning of time.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    1-Slider

    Mountain View Goes to Capitol Hill

  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    Current Events

    Earth Day 2018; Are You Part of the Solution?

  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    Current Events

    YouTuber Causes Debate By Comparing Factory Farming With Holocaust

  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    Current Events

    A Side Effect Of Global Warming

  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    Current Events

    Mini Truck Attack in Münster, Germany

  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    Current Events

    Census??? OK BRO

  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    1-Slider

    President Trump Visits California; Democratic Governor Reminds Him That Bridges are Better than Walls

  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    Current Events

    America’s Gun “Thing”

  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    1-Slider

    A Young Immigrant’s Story Brings Hope for Peace

  • Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women

    Current Events

    Bloody Assault in Busan, South Korea – Irrelevant? Stand Up To Violence Everywhere

Sexism or Art? Museum takes down a painting of naked women