Under the skin: 200 years of nudity in art in one afternoon

In Nude: Art from the Tate

Exhibitions collected by subject matter rather than era, style or artist bring something unexpected to the study of art.

In Nude: Art from the Tate, showing now at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, you feel it keenly: there are more than 100 works in this collection, spanning more than two centuries, from Rodin’s marble masterwork The Kiss to the candid photographs of Cindy Sherman.

It is eclectic and sprawling but it doesn’t feel arbitrary. Rather, the effect is not only to show how depictions of the human body have changed but, perhaps more importantly, to provide a map for the semiconscious and subconscious shifting in modes of thought and artistic expression across time.

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