Beautifully Obscene: The History of the Erotic Print

15 May 2015 – 12 Jun 2015

Event times

9:00 - 17:00

Cost of entry


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Studio 3 Gallery

Canterbury, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Taxi rank in front of Station or take the Unibus from nearby St. Dunstan's
  • Nearest train station: Canterbury West (high-speed link from St. Pancras; trains from Charing Cross).
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An exhibition of 500 years of erotic prints from Europe and Japan curated by students from the University of Kent.


Studio 3 Gallery is pleased to present Beautifully Obscene: The History of the Erotic Print. Featuring over 30 works from across Europe and Japan and spanning the course of 500 years, the exhibition incorporates the different approaches used by artists in order to explore themes of sexuality, gender roles and power. The show explores Sir Kenneth Clark’s famous distinction between the socially-acceptable ‘nude’, and the socially-pejorative ‘naked’ body, with the majority of the works included arguably belonging to the latter category. Beautifully Obscene will not only present viewers with a comprehensive study of the aesthetics of the human form and sexuality, but will also challenge our deeply ingrained discomfort with erotic visual representations, and suggest that beauty can in fact be found in the obscene.

Artists will include:

Pietro Aquila, Pietro Santi Bartoli, Monika Beisner, Jan de Bisschop, Emma Bradford, Simone Cantarini ,Stephen Chambers ,Marianne Clouzot, Gabriel Dauchot, Angele Delasalle, Roland Delcol ,Amandine Dore, Tracey Emin, Henri Fantin-Latour, Valentin Le Fevre ,Ian Hamilton Finlay, Othon Friesz ,Frans de Geetre, Paul Guiramand , Sarah Hardacre Anita Klein, Rudolf Koch, Antonio Lafrery, Martin Van Maele , Albert Marquet ,Henri Matisse , Patricia Nik-Dad, André Provot, Felicien Rops, Berthommé de Saint-André, Alex Varenne, Marcel Vertes , Denis Volx, Lucas Vorsterman , Shane Wheatcroft 

This exhibition has been organised by students from the Print Collecting and Curating Module at the University of Kent's School of Arts. This course gives students the opportunity both to curate an exhibition of their design and to acquire prints for the Kent Print Collection. In thinking about this exhibition, this year's students wished to address the lack of erotic art in the permanent collection. Given that prints have historically been affordable and easily disseminated, there are many rich examples of erotic works in this medium, from Felicien Rops in Europe to Kitagawa Utamaro in Japan.

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