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Mary Beard's Shock of the Nude on BBC2 - everything you need to know

Is the nude still relevant in the art world of today?

Published: Monday, 10th February 2020 at 10:53 am

The art world is no stranger to nude imagery, and classicist Mary Beard wants to get to the bottom (no pun intended) of its legacy and place in the modern world.


Shock of the Nude is a two-part documentary that aims to do just that, looking at famous works and considering how they should be interpreted in an ever-changing landscape.

Here's everything you need to know about Mary Beard's Shock of the Nude...

What is Shock of the Nude with Mary Beard about?

The classicist examines the nude in western art and its troubling power to provoke ideas about gender, sex and moral transgression. In part two, Beard looks at an eccentric selection of works that show how artists have challenged the idea of 'the body beautiful' and explores how artistic nudes can provoke viewers to consider fundamental questions about being human. Beard will also examine society's shifting perception of gender, from the binary to a more fluid concept.

Is there a review?

RadioTimes critic Alison Graham said about the upcoming final episode:

In the second and final part of her documentary examining attitudes towards the nude in art, Mary Beard looks at the outrage that surrounded the unveiling of Marc Quinn’s sculpture Alison Lapper Pregnant when it was installed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2005.

Beard also confronts the uncomfortable questions about Eric Gill’s engravings of his teenage daughter Petra, whom he sexually abused, and talks to a model who sat for Lucian Freud, whose portraits of fleshy male and female nudes changed the artistic landscape.

Beard considers, too, current shifting perceptions of gender and what these might mean for the nude in art


What time is Shock of the Nude with Mary Beard on BBC2?

Shock of the Nude continues on BBC2 at 9pm on Monday 10th February 2020.


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