Category: Media & Culture / February 19, 2013 9:16 AM EST
Naturalists, nudists, and curious members of the public gathered naked at Vienna's Leopold Museum on Monday (February 18) in an after-hours showing of its controversial but popular exhibition titled "Naked Men."
"We were all born completely naked, this is the most natural thing in the world. I enjoy being naked, my family not so much, but in this environment I can freely do it without upsetting anyone," Hans from St. Poelten said.
The exhibition, which has been extended to run until March 4, is designed to show how the depiction of male nudity has evolved in art history.
One attendant at exhibit, Gabriela from Brazil, said she felt better connected with the art on display when observing it in the nude.
"Yes, that's the thing. You feel like you're part of the exhibition a little bit. It's like you, you... It's a different way to pursue it. Because I came here before but it didn't make any sense. Now it's making much more sense to me," said Gabriela.
The museum - named after Austrian collector Rudolf Leopold, was inspired to invite the public to get naked after an inquiry from a group of German nudists.
"There have been many requests (for nude visits). We now have this great exhibition about naked men, and many potential visitors have asked whether it would be possible for them to come to the museum being naked as well. And basically, this exhibition is a sign of tolerance. It is about showing what makes a man a man, what constitutes the naked man, the man who has disposed of his clothes," museum press officer Klaus Pokorny said.
"Naked Men" had stirred up controversy among more conservative elements of Austrian society.
Outrage from parents and religious groups in October forced the Leopold to cover up the private parts of the three nude male soccer players used on large publicity posters around Vienna.
Nonetheless, "Naked Men" has been considered a success.
Video Source: Reuters