This week saw the unveiling of Jonathan Yeo’s revealing portrait of the heavily pregnant Sienna Miller in Berlin. Miller posed for the controversial piece a few weeks before the birth of her daughter, Marlow, back in July. Yeo seems pretty pleased with the result, as he captured “some of that moment of transition between youth and parenthood”.
The 41 year old Brit has chosen Germany’s capital as the location of his (I’ve Got You) Under My Skin exhibition as it “ seemed both appropriate and necessary to exhibit these images of the flesh in Germany: a country with a more relaxed attitude to the corporeal, where the exposed body is not automatically sexualised or considered taboo”. But is this really that provocative?
Yes, Miller may be in the nude but this portrait holds much more class than the usual pregnancy snaps that British families seem to be becoming so fond of (you know the ones… where the husband/father covers their partners privates with their hand in some horribly lit studio). She was not the first. Lucian Freud painted almost a life-size nude of Kate Moss back in 2003, Demi Moore broke the mould in 1991 when she posed for Annie Liebovitz’ Vanity Fair cover with a whole host of women following in her footsteps. After a quick search on google, and Twitter, I am unable to find any outrage. The feedback seems to be positive, with comments such as “beautiful” and “truly stunning” in the mix.
So forgive my own outrage at Yeo’s comments of a Britain where “the media and public tend to sensationalise the body, and are often unable to view it without scandal”. This idea of a society of prudes is completely outdated. The artist believes that “certain sections of society are still uncomfortable with the appearance of pregnancy and images of naked and expectant mothers are rarely seen”. That’s probably why the Evening Standard ran the story on the front page.
So what do you guys think? Are you shocked, uncomfortable and ready to start a scandal?