The Victorian Nude

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A hundred and one years after the death of Queen Victoria, many people still regard her, and her era, as the epitome of prudishness. For years, we’ve heard the Victorians were so uptight they even covered the “legs” of pianos.

That prissy image continues, even though scholars have been saying for years that the Victorians were just as rambunctious and randy and varied in their tastes and predilections as people in any other era. In fact, the art historian who put together a museum exhibit of Victorian nudes says these people were obsessed with sex.

“The Victorian Nude.” Funny thing is that exposed flesh then caused the same controversy that it does today, with debates over definitions of art and pornography and erotica. The Victorian nude, revealed.

Images in the photo gallery are from the book “EXPOSED: THE VICTORIAN NUDE” edited by Alison Smith. (c) The Tate Trustees, 2001. First published in the United States of America by Watson-Guptill, Publications, New York, NY.


Alison Smith, curator, “Exposed: The Victorian Nude,” currently at the Brooklyn Museum of Art

Virginia Dodier, director, Carlsbad Museum and Art Gallery, New Mexico.