PAINTED nudes have been removed from an exhibition at Portsmouth Cathedral, after complaints were made.
The four paintings, by Joe Greenwood, were due to feature in the Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society’s summer show, running from 28 July until last Wednesday, but members of the congregation voiced “distress”, a cathedral spokesperson said.
Mr Greenwood told the Portsmouth News: “This was my first proper exhibition; so it makes me sad my paintings have been misconstrued in this way.
“Nudity itself is not a sexual thing, it’s just a human form, and there is a lot of it in religious art — look at the Sistine Chapel, for example.
“I was conscious to make these images respectful, and I’m actually very pleased with the way they turned out — but I’ve found myself rather embarrassed with the effect they’ve had.”
A spokesperson for the diocese of Portsmouth said: “Portsmouth Cathedral aims to be a space open to everybody. Whenever a public exhibition takes place in a church, it is important to consider how it relates to our main purpose of being a place for prayer, reflection, and worship.
“Initially, the paintings were considered to be suitable for the exhibition, but a number of regular cathedral users expressed distress about their presence, and, in consultation with the Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society, it was decided to remove them from the exhibition.
“This decision is not a reflection on the quality of the artist’s work, but on our duty to balance the needs of all those who come to the cathedral.”