# Emer O’Toole on the art of being naked
But Camilla’s idea was right up my street. She wanted to paint a traditional subject in a traditional medium, but include something that continues to be erased in western art: female body hair. As someone prone to puzzling over the fact that painted ladies are as hairless as baby hamsters, even in art from eras when women didn’t shave, I was intrigued. Sure, Goya’s La Maja Desnuda has an enticing hint of pubic hair, Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde is a bush explosion, and the few darker brushstrokes under the arms of Manet’s Olympia have been interpreted as, if not quite armpit hair, at least womanly stubble. Overall, however, our museums and galleries are full of women who have been plucked to the pores. So I said yes.
I am comfortable being naked. I attribute this to my mother, who thinks it necessary to be fully clothed in a domestic setting only if male visitors are due to arrive. She will cheerfully answer the door to her girlfriends in her knickers and bra. Once, an ex-boyfriend and I lived with her for two months after we came back from travelling. A few weeks in, he confessed, “The first time I saw your mum naked, it was weird. And the second time, it was weird. But now, it’s not even weird any more, which is really weird.” All of which makes her sound like some kind of free-love, earth-goddess hippy. She isn’t. She’s one of that breed of practical, commonsensical Irish farm women who thinks squeamishness about bodies is nonsense. Sure, don’t we all have bits?
read more – Source: The Guardian
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