Four nude paintings have been removed from Portsmouth’s Anglican cathedral after worshippers and visitors expressed distress over the sight of naked flesh.
The acrylic canvas works by local artist Joe Greenwood were on display at the cathedral as part of a summer show by the Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society (PHAS).
But a cathedral spokesman said that a number of visitors complained about the paintings, leading to the decision to remove them.
The Diocese of Portsmouth spokesman said:
Portsmouth Cathedral aims to be a space open to everybody. Whenever a public exhibition takes place in a church it is important to weigh up how it relates to our main purpose of being a place for prayer, reflection and worship.
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.
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.
• The picture used to illustrate this report was sourced here.