Great art cover-up: Renaissance nudity still has power to shock

The guardian | Jonathan Jones:

You never know what will offend people. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered that a skirt was crudely painted over the naked Eve in a Renaissance manuscript soon to go on view at the city’s Fitzwilliam Museum. Some time between the 16th and 18th centuries a particularly prudish owner had this image bowdlerised, even though the nudity of Adam and Eve is a venerable and respectable religious theme.

It’s far from the only incident where Renaissance art has been considered so sensual and provocative that it has been censored, or even destroyed. Works of art get lost for many reasons, but there is a suspiciously high destruction rate for those involving nudity. Leonardo da Vinci’s Leda and the Swan was one of the first openly carnal depictions of myth in art, delighting in a big-bosomed, curvy-hipped Leda. Today, this painting is only known through drawings and copies. A French owner probably destroyed it deliberately… Read more

Image: Too curvy? A sketch of Leonardo Da Vinci’s destroyed painting Leda and the Swan, c 1503. Photograph: Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth/PA