Classicist Mary Beard peeks behind the fig leaf to find the truth behind the nude in art.
We wipe our internet browsing histories to spare our blushes, yet admire a nude in an art gallery without the blink of an eye. But, asks classicist Mary Beard, is it really the ennobling effects of great art that sees us queuing up for famous nudes from Aphrodite to Michaelangelo’s David?
Watch Shock of The Nude and more acclaimed documentaries on BBC Select today. Restrictions apply*.
Shock of The Nude on BBC Select
Gleefully, Beard strips away our lofty claims to reveal the truth behind our obsession with the body in art.
More documentaries you might like...
Nature And Us: A History Through Art
In the age of climate crisis, what can art teach us about our relationship with nature?
Did scandal and torment drive the artist to even greater creative glories?
The Art of Gothic
Why were Brits in the 19th-century obsessed with art that was horrific, macabre and weird?
Gauguin: The Full Story
Why was the life of influential artist Paul Gauguin mired in controversy and conflict?
Van Gogh: Painted with Words
Powerful docudrama exploring the work and passions of Vincent Van Gogh
The Genius of Carl Faberge
Would you spend $100 million on eggs? You might if they were Faberge.
The High Art of the Low Countries
Size doesn’t matter. How one small region spawned the greatest artists of all time.
The Art of Spain
Territory, politics and religious conflict: the untold history of Spain’s cultural legacy.
Art of Scandinavia
Scandi noir? Does Scandinavian art deserve its dark reputation?
Art of China
Historian Andrew Graham-Dixon marvels at a millennia of Chinese art
Art of France
A stunning journey through the history of French art
War Art with Eddie Redmayne
Academy Award winning actor Eddie Redmayne discovers the artists who saved lives during WW1
The World's Greatest Paintings
What makes a particular artwork an iconic masterpiece? Andrew Marr investigates.
Who were the Impressionists and what fueled their desire to alter the direction of art?
Vincent: The Full Story
What do we really know about Vincent van Gogh, arguably the world’s most famous artist?
The Art Mysteries
Think you know these works by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne and Seurat? Think again.
The Story of Women and Art
Restless, resistant and radical. How female artists transformed art from the outside
Simon Schama's Power of Art
Eight masterpieces. Eight big names who changed the world. An electrifying feast of art.
Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds
Paris, Vienna and New York. The seismic influence of three cities on the artistic world.
The Romantic Revolution
Wild visionaries and imaginative truth seekers whose radical ideas still resonate today.
Grayson Perry's Art Club
Artist Grayson Perry releases a torrent of quarantine-creativity in his lockdown art club.