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Talking to Children About Nudity in Art



Parents and Guardians:

While you are visiting, you may see a number of images of the nude body. It may be helpful to talk to your children before entering the exhibition spaces about images of the nude in art, to encourage them to examine their own responses to the work, and to think about why an artist might choose to include a nude body in a work of art.

A good place to start is to simply share that some of the works of art they will see while visiting will contain images of nude bodies. People who visit the Gallery have all kinds of different responses to these images. Some people laugh; others feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. All these responses are normal. But why? Why is the body so humorous and/or embarrassing? Do we fall into hysterical laughter when we are in the shower or bath? Probably not. Part of seeing a nude figure in a museum is just that: we are accustomed to our nude bodies only in private. To see one in public is a shock. Artists know this too. In showing the nude body, artists remind us that the human body can mean many things.

Nudity can be a symbol of:

What are you wearing?

Another way to approach this topic is to think about clothing instead of nudity. What do clothes tell us about a person? Clothing can send a message about: