From the Fringe | 18.02.2008
Naked "Venus" Gets Free Ride in London
Venus has gone nude for more than 450 years. And prudish public officials could not convince her to cover up on the London Underground.
Topless would've been okay, officials for Transport of London said. But the poster for an upcoming Lucas Cranach the Elder exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London went too far. The German master's "Venus Standing in a Landscape" depicts an unclothed, golden-haired woman cocking her hips behind a transparent veil.
Transport officials demanded the bottom half of the picture be cropped before it could go up in the London Underground. The advertisement was originally nixed for going against a rule prohibiting pictures which depict "men, women or children in a sexual manner, or display nude or semi-nude figures in an overtly sexual context."
Museum officials expressed shock that the "Venus" painting, completed in 1532, could be seen as problematic.
"We wouldn't have put a poster design forward if we thought it was offensive," academy spokeswoman Jennifer Francis said.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: She does have a veil
John Whittingdale, an influential legislator, described the original ban as "absolutely bonkers."
On Saturday, Feb. 16 transportation officials admitted they had made a mistake and reversed their decision.
The exhibition on the German artist's work is scheduled to open March 8 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. "Venus" is one of 70 works of Lucas Cranach the Elder which will be displayed in London.