Bottoms from Bridgeman

Channel 4's The Genius of British Art - Images supplied by Bridgeman

Series 1 | Episode 3 | Flesh Writer Howard Jacobson celebrates the way British artists depict sex and desire, and argues that the most compelling expression is to be found where we might least expect it: in the art of the Victorians. 

This programme is part of the Genius of British Art series on Channel 4 which presents six passionate polemics on how British art makes us who we are today. Each programme features images licensed from the Bridgeman archive. 

Sunday Times Culture section cover. Details from paintings by William Etty / Bridgeman.

The Naked Truth

The Victorians were great moralisers but it certainly did not make them timid when it came to art.

Details from paintings by William Etty, best known for his paintings of nudes, are used on the cover of the Sunday Times Culture (09/10/2010) to illustrate a feature by Howard Jacobson who argues that the Victorians were the true masters of the erotic. 

Howard Jacobson is also one of the presenters for the Channel 4 Genius of British Art series where the same theme is hotly discussed using images from the Bridgeman Art Library.

"...the Victorians threw themselves into sex with a wildness that makes us look timorous...

...Sirens, nymphs, kelpies, fairies, femmes fatales, enchantresses of every sort, called and beckon men to their doom, as often or not in lakes or pools - the great Victorian metaphor for sexual consummation..."

Watch The Genius of British Art Series 1 | Episode 3 | Flesh on 4O


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