"Look at me! Portrait Photographs of Nude" Exhibition

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

poster for "Look at me! Portrait Photographs of Nude" Exhibition

This event has ended.

Shortly after its invention the daguerreotype was used to create a photograph of a nude. In the paintings of the time, however, actual people were never portrayed in the nude, the pictures depicting anonymous figures. Nudes have been painted since pre-Christian times, but even as late as 1865 Manet was censured when he submitted his ‘Olympia’ to the Paris Salon, because it was said to have been modeled by an actual prostitute. In this way, the depiction of real people in the nude remained taboo until the end of the nineteenth century. Up until that time, nearly all the nudes that appeared in paintings depicted Eve, from the Old Testament, or Aphrodite (Venus) from Grecian mythology. It was not until some time later that nude photographs, depicting people whose identity could be recognized, were to be publicly displayed.

This exhibition starts with photographs that were taken in Japan from the mid-to-late nineteenth century. The majority of these were produced as souvenirs for foreign travelers, and provide a glimpse of the manners and customs of the times. Although they are not portraits in the true meaning of the term, they are included here as an example of the way in which the human figure was portrayed in Japan.

[Image: E. J. Bellocq, "Storyville" (1912)]



From 2010-07-31 To 2010-10-03



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