At Barcelona’s Archaeology Museum of Catalonia, two 5th-century BCE Greek sculptures gaze at visitors from the glossy surfaces of Italian artist Luigi Spina’s recent photographs of the works. The two statues, the “Younger” and “Elder” Riace Bronzes, are classic examples of the Greek sculptural tradition: muscular, nude warriors posing with a decided air of confidence. Museumgoers have now twice met the sculptures at their level — of clothing.

In partnership with the Catalonia Naturalist Club, the institution is hosting tours for nudist visitors to view the art in their birthday suits.

“We wanted to make it a more colorful visit and not the typical guided tour,” museum guide Edgard Mestre told Reuters. He led the most recent event on October 28, and the museum held another event on September 30. “We wanted people who came to see it to feel exactly the same as the work they were looking at.”

The 90-minute sessions included a conversation about nudity in art history and a discussion about nudity in contemporary society. 

The naked tour of Luigi Spina’s exhibition

Mestre joined visitors in ditching clothing for his tour of Spina’s photography exhibition, on view through November 26. At the most recent event, tickets cost €7 euros (around $7), and being naked was mandatory.

Beachgoers keeping their bathing suits on proved a problem for another nudist club in the Eastern Spanish region this summer, when the group complained to the Catalan government that bathed swimmers were encroaching on the spaces they had dedicated for nudism, sometimes referred to as “naturalism.” They cited the scourge of what they call “textile invasion.” 

While nudity is legal on Spanish beaches, it’s generally only socially acceptable on specific stretches of shorefront. The issue has entered the courtroom before. In February, a Spanish court ruled in favor of plaintiffs who alleged that forced nudity at a communal pool — complete with a security guard verifying clothing status — amounted to discrimination.

If seeing art while naked is on your bucket list, the Pittsburgh Mattress Factory museum is holding its very own naked tour on November 10.

Nudity is required.
The tour includes discussions of nudity in art history and its place in contemporary society.

Elaine Velie is a writer from New Hampshire living in Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian at Middlebury College and is interested in art's role in history, culture, and politics.

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