One of the delightful characteristics of the Dutch is their frankness, and this comes through in the tales—which are far from bland.
As the exhibition texts explain, “the debate about the bare bottom in this Degas pastel dominated the art pages of the [Dutch] newspapers for weeks”. The question being asked was “whether in this day and age it is still possible to acquire and exhibit a female nude drawn by a man”.
Roos Rosa de Carvalho recalls that she received a letter from a painters’ model describing how posing nude is her profession, in which she takes pride. This made the museum curator think about Degas, concluding that “if we assume without question that she [Degas’s model] was the unwilling victim of a sex-obsessed artist, then perhaps we are not only failing Degas but her as well”.
Emilie Gordenker, the director of the Van Gogh Museum, was inevitably drawn into the controversy. She admits that “we had an internal discussion about the fact that some visitors might be offended by seeing a female nude”.
Here is more from The Art Newspaper. And here in good ol’ USA, people are worried about TV wives being too attractive, relative to their husbands (NYT). And here is another museum article, again American: “Menstrual Cups in Museums? It’s Time.” (NYT)