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National Treasures

Velázquez's 'The Rokeby Venus'

At the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Until 26 August 2024

Walker Art Gallery

The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, has one of the most important and renowned painting collections in the UK. The collection includes European Renaissance paintings, masterpieces by Rubens, Rembrandt, Turner and Stubbs, Pre-Raphaelite, Impressionist and contemporary works by Hockney, Wylie, and the winners of the John Moores Painting Prize.

The gallery is also home to a sculpture collection known for its outstanding works made between the 18th century and the First World War, from the high period of neo-classicism, to the era of 'New Sculpture' in Britain, and a great collection of British and European decorative art, dating from 1300 to the present day.

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Velázquez, 'The Rokeby Venus'

National Treasures: Velázquez in Liverpool sees 'The Rokeby Venus' form the centrepiece of a new display. The work is Diego Velázquez’s only surviving female nude and one of his most celebrated pieces.

Over the centuries, it has become symbolic of the male gaze, and has often been held up as an example of the objectification of women in art. ‘National Treasures: Velázquez in Liverpool’ considers new ways of seeing, focusing on gender and gaze through a range of artworks that have rarely been displayed before.

The display challenges traditional readings of the painting by setting it alongside unexpected artworks by women and non-binary artists from the collection. These include Ethel Walker’s 'The Spanish Gesture', photographs by René Matic and Zanele Muholi, and Harriet Hosmer’s sculpture 'Puck'.

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