A DHRA Away Day organised by Acting Social Secretary Mr Jermyn Street has angered some members who had no idea that the trip to the The Dorset Royal Academy's "Four Ages of Woman" Exhibition would prove "as visually and psychologically challenging as it did".
The Exhibition which Curator Angelina Toppe-Schelff describes as "a celebration of the female form throughout the ages" divides into four exhibition spaces: Youth; Full Bloom; Losing It and Well Past It. She denies it is either "ageist" or "meretricious" - charges levelled by some DHRA members after their Bank Holiday Monday visit.
The Dorset Royal Academy (Herston) has defended its Four Stages of Woman Exhibition, drawing particular attention to it poster (above) which contains a clear and explicit Advisory Notice. "Anyone surprised by the inclusion of nudes in the Exhibition shouldn't be out on their own", suggests Curator Angelina Toppe-Schelff.
One large canvas - a semi-abstract nude by Czech impressionist Bronislav Přeskus - seems to have provoked a particularly strong reaction: fascinating some but scandalising others. "This is an exceptionally beautiful woman rendered by the artist with breathtaking reverence and admiration" Ms Toppe-Schelff explained, "a marvellous example of him working at the height of his powers and demonstrating both secure technique and compelling vision". A spokesperson for Mr Street (whose position as Acting Social Secretary is said to be under review) agreed adding, "Mr Street stands by his decision to organise the visit: he enjoyed it more than he can say and certainly more than Mrs Street".
The Four Ages of Woman Exhibition features portraits of women by a variety of artists from Thrupiece to Přeskus. Dobromila Dormant [above] is part of the "Full Bloom " Section and is one of several studies by Přeskus of his companion and muse Dobromila Novotny. Here students from a local school admire its generous proportions.