Are classic nudes just soft porn for toffs? We recreate famous ones – The Sun

THEY were the first glamour girls – the women who posed nude for some of history’s most famous painters. But anything Botticelli can do, The Sun can do better.

After TV classicist Dame Mary Beard claimed the female nude in Western art is just “soft porn for the elite, dressed up in classic guise” in a recent interview, we show that you don’t have to be a prude about appreciating nudes.

We asked former Page 3 girls Rhian Sugden and Holly Peers, plus models Megan Wright and Robert Reider, to recreate the poses in some classic works of art. They tell SIOBHAN O’CONNOR whether they think Mary is correct – or if nude art is simply a celebration of the human body.

Nude Sitting On A Divan by Amedeo Modigliani, 1917

Holly, 33, says: “There are statues and paintings of naked men everywhere, too – but is that also considered soft porn?

“It’s a human body, it doesn’t have to be sexual but, somehow, just because it happens to show nipples, it is.

“If you are proud of your body, why not show it off? More people are showing more skin on Instagram now and I think it’s great.

“We should celebrate our bodies instead of hiding them away because people are worried that it’s going to arouse others.

“It’s empowering to pose naked and we should empower others when they do it.”

Birth Of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, mid-1480s


Rhian, 33, says: “You see boobs just by going to Brighton beach, but that’s not classed as soft porn, and seeing a nipple in a painting definitely isn’t either.

“There are statues of naked women all over London – it’s a celebration of the female body and how beautiful it is.

“These paintings portray a much more realistic representation of the female body compared to social media. They show women with curves in all the normal places.

“If Mary Beard thinks this is soft porn, she should see Playboy – that will knock her over.”

The Luncheon On The Grass by Edouard Manet, 1863


Megan, 23, from East London, says: “I see no issue with nude artwork. It’s certainly not soft porn. We need to learn to appreciate bodies of all shapes and sizes rather than associating the naked form with sex.”

Robert, 26, from North London, says: “I don’t think it’s soft porn at all. There are tribes even in today’s world where people are naked, and that’s normal for them.

“Our perspective is influenced by society but naked bodies are normal.

“Though I don’t know why I had to be in a suit – I should have been naked, too!”

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