Reading Women 2

I mentioned that I had signed up for a U3Ac course, ‘Reading women: Questioning image and meaning(s)’ in my post on 8th September.  The first class was held yesterday and looks as it will give me things to write about here.

As is so often with the study of art (and photography), trying to understand the artwork often opens up and illuminates all manner of other facets of culture and society.  Showing an image of Rembrandt’s Bathsheba at Her Bath, 1854, the tutor, Britta Dwyer, asked rhetorically, ‘Is she was naked or nude?’; and said the question was prompted by the fact that, so far as she knows, English is the only language with two words for the same state of undress.  It’s a question we might ask of any such work.  I was reminded immediately of Willy Ronis’s Le Nu Provençale, 1948.  Is this figure naked or nude?

Le Nu Provençale, Willy Ronis, 1948
Bathsheba at Her Bath, Rembrandt, 1854

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