Here are the reader responses to the removal of Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs by Manchester Art Gallery.
In case you missed the story:
Jonathan Jones hits the nail on the head here. Acts like this kill the conversation; the works need to be in sight to instigate conversation. Start removing what can hardly be deemed as offensive and where do you stop?
Oh, and let’s not forget the reverse and the most famous objectifier of the human body:
The Victorians have a lot to answer for with their hypocritical prudishness. Even titles of paintings were effected by this and a good example is Segantini’s ‘Punishment of Luxury’ in Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery:
This painting, which symbolises what happens to women who do not confirm to the idea of motherhood, makes a lot more sense when you know it was originally called ‘Punishment of Lust’. However, the Victorian trustees of the gallery were uncomfortable with it and so renamed the work!
Debate is always healthy, but to censor is not. It is pleasing to see it is now being put back on display where the conversation can now continue.
And, for the record, it’s not a work I would rave about but it is a companion to the story of Hylas* which works beautifully and who can complain about that!!
*Mary Beard gives us an understanding of the story of Hylas here: