John Berger argues that the nude is a convention, that to be naked is to be oneself, but to be nude is to become an object.
Are the figures in this painting naked or nude? Talk about this question and your reasons for your answer with your partner. Using the Layar app, vote on whether they are naked or nude.
Now, if you are facing the painting, look to your right. You will see Matisse's Carmelina. Using the Strategies for Reading to help you talk about the works, as well as considering the 3 levels of Relations of Looking (gazes within the work, the artist's at the work/subject of the work, and your gaze), discuss how Matisse portrays the nude.
Is she naked or nude? You can tweet your response to @loirl and with the hashtag #viscult15
Move through the museum to another area that interests you. Look for paintings and sculptures of nudes or bodies that prompt interesting conversation about the topic of naked or nude? How do representations change over time? With different styles and mediums?
Berger's book (and the video series it comes from) is from 1972. Are his ideas still relevant today, forty years later? Make sure you look in the Contemporary Art gallery on the second floor of the Linde Wing (above where we come in when we enter as a group). In contemporary art, do “men act, and women appear,” as Berger asserts?
Finally, perform the experiment that Berger suggests at the end of his chapter on the nude, but with a painting or sculpture from the museum.