#MeToo Movement vs. Victorian Art

     John William Waterhouse is considered a master of the Pre-Raphaelite school, a reformist art style the thrived during the Victorian era. Waterhouse’s ” Hylas and the Nymphs” has not been found to be #Problematic.

” The work usually hangs in a room titled In Pursuit of Beauty, which contains late 19th century paintings showing lots of female flesh.

“Gannaway [, the gallery’s curator of contemporary art,] said the title was a bad one, as it was male artists pursuing women’s bodies, and paintings that presented the female body as a passive decorative art form or a femme fatale.

“‘For me personally, there is a sense of embarrassment that we haven’t dealt with it sooner. Our attention has been elsewhere … we’ve collectively forgotten to look at this space and think about it properly. We want to do something about it now because we have forgotten about it for so long.’

“Gannaway said the debates around Time’s Up and #MeToo had fed into the decision.”

     It was being re placed by a more politically correct contemporary artist…

     The claim is that this isn’t censorship, with the promise that it could return “recontexualised”…

     However, in the now vacant space “Visitors were invited to write their views about the decision on sticky notes and post them in the vacant space.” The Vox Populi was strong against the removal:

     “But after a backlash, the city council, which runs the gallery, announced that the painting would return to the wall.

     “The gallery’s interim director Amanda Wallace said: “We were hoping the experiment would stimulate discussion, and it’s fair to say we’ve had that in spades – and not just from local people but from art-lovers around the world.

     “‘Throughout the painting’s seven day absence, it’s been clear that many people feel very strongly about the issues raised, and we now plan to harness this strength of feeling for some further debate on these wider issues.’

     “The gallery is now planning a series of public events ‘to encourage further debate’.”

     As a further irony, there have been complaints about some of Waterhouse’s paintings involving young girls, even though they are artistic and lack any hint of vulgarity.

“Reviewing the 2009 Royal Academy of Arts show devoted to Waterhouse, the critic Waldemar Januszczak wrote of a painting showing the death of St Eulalia, a 12-year-old girl: ‘I did not know whether to laugh, cry or call the police.'”

     Considering that epidemic of rape gangs in the U.K., perhaps a Victorian painting is the least of one’s worries…

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