WOKE gallery bosses have issued trigger warnings to art lovers about an exhibition of work by celebrated Victorian illustrator Aubrey Beardsley.
His works were pored over by stuffy Victorian censors offended by his outlandish erotic black and white images.
Now, almost 122 years after his death, curators at Tate Britain in London are keen to ensure that no one attending the £16 display is offended.
They tell art devotees: “Many of Aubrey Beardsley’s works use deliberately provocative imagery, including nudity and sexually explicit content.”
His pictures include images of topless women fleeing men displaying large penises and he had several drawings rejected in his lifetime by publishers for being indecent.
The exhibition spans Beardsley’s seven-year career.
In this time, he worked across a number of commissions but was best known for his work in the salacious Yellow Book and Oscar Wilde’s Salomé.
Pushing the boundaries of conservative Victorian society, his work frequently featured nudity and erotica, while the Yellow Book in particular featured scenes that went against accepted norms.
Exhibition co-curator Caroline Corbeau-Parsons says: “He depicted independent women – which was quite novel at the time – and ‘women of the night’, whose lifestyle most Victorians would have disapproved of.”
She explained that Beardsley was also fond of depicting gender fluidity.
And she said commissioners had to look at his drawings upside down and with a microscope to make sure they hadn’t missed any offensive details.
Caroline Corbeau-Parsons added that sometimes “obscene hidden details” still slipped through, like the phallic candles found in his work Enter Herodias, which were missed by publisher John Lane.
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