• The Arts Society Penang
  • The Arts Society Penang

The Naked Truth about the Victorians: The Nude in 19th Century Art

Waterhouse - Hylas and the Nymphs 1896
Thursday 7 February 2019 at The Peranakan Mansion from 18:30

We think of the Victorians as prudish. But did they really cover their piano legs? In fact, the Victorians were obsessed with sex, and new evidence suggests that Queen Victoria had an exceptionally high libido. This Victorian interest in sex infiltrated the art world and the representation of the naked figure was one of the most controversial topics of the time, from mass-produced photographs to Royal Academy paintings. This talk looks at how Victorian artists managed to make the nude ‘acceptable’. It de-bunks the idea that the Victorians were repressed, suggesting that it is perhaps us, 21st century viewers, who are the most prudish about the naked human body. 


STELLA GRACE LYONS gained her BA in the History of Art with a 1st class in her dissertation from the University of Bristol, and her MA in History of Art at the University of Warwick. She spent a year studying Renaissance art in Italy at the British Institute of Florence, and three months studying Venetian art in Venice. In addition, she attended drawing classes at the prestigious Charles H. Cecil studios in Florence. In 2017, Stella was selected by The Arts Society to lecture at the launch of ‘Drawing Room Discussions’ in association with ROSL ARTS, hosted by Guardian arts correspondent Maev Kennedy. Stella runs her own art history courses and she is also a regular lecturer in the UK and Europe for The Arts Society, National Trust, Contemporary Arts Society Wales (CASW), Classical Education Forum, WEA, and several travel companies. Stella also works as an artist’s model for the internationally renowned figurative artist, Harry Holland.

To see more about Stella visit her website https://stellagracelyons.com/