The Royal Academy in London promises an equal amount of naked men and women. That is to say depicted in the works in the exhibition ‘The Renaissance Nude’, in March next year. The idea for the show was conceived three years ago, and it will be in partnership with the Getty Museum in LA.
Saint Sebastian by Agnolo Bronzino
But since starting the planning of the exhibition attitudes have changed. Institutions have re-examined their relationship and treatment of women following sexual abuse allegations.
Venus Rising from the Sea by Titian
This show will reflect art in the #MeToo era. It follows a period of deep crisis in the arts. Television, film, theatre, music and the visual arts all had to have a new look at how they treat and portray women.
This decision marks the first time the R.A. has introduced a gender quota for any of its exhibitions. It has not done an exact count, but the split will be almost equal.
Art institutions have been targeted by feminist campaigners for a long time. Critics point out the dire shortage of women artists in museums collections. While there is a high proportion of female nudes on the walls. The most prominent of these critics are the Guerrilla Girls. Their 1989 work entitled ‘Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met Museum’, is now held by the Tate Modern. It states that less than five percent of the work in the New York museum’s modern art section is by women. However, 85 percent of the nudes on exhibit are female. London’s National Gallery admitted this year that less than one percent of its works are by women.
The RA.’s show is assembled to track the development of the “idea and ideal” of the nude throughout Europe. It will have about 85 works created between 1400 and 1530 of both religious and secular art. It will include top works by Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Durer, and Cranach.
A Faun and His Family With a Slain Lion by Lucas Cranach
Dr. Per Rumberg is the head curator of the show. He said he and his colleagues had been eager from the start to have an equal sex-balance. The organizers also sought for a balanced mixture of men and women scholars to work on the exhibition.
Throughout art history, there are more depictions of naked women than men. In this period substantially more. Would, therefore, the quality of the show not be compromised. Organizers assure that it won’t and that there is enough to choose from. The exhibition will have some real masterpieces on show. It is interesting to examine the differences in the way the male and female bodies are portrayed.
The Academy’s decision of a gender quota was confirmed on the launch day of the 2019 season. Tim Marlow the artistic director, said he had found it a very interesting exercise. He observed how the exhibition had changed meaning during the current ‘cultural climate’.
Gender quotas will not be obligatory in other exhibitions. Forthcoming shows include Oceania, Antony Gormley, Lucian Freud, Felix Vallotton and Bill Viola.