Royal Academy - Somerset House, London

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At Somerset House, students of the Royal Academy are trained in the techniques of observing and depicting the female nude. Lynda Nead argues that the “female nude not only proposes particular definitions of the female body, but also sets in place specific norms of viewing and viewers” (Female Nude 2). The male gaze attempts to translate and contain the female body in a female nude through the aestheticizing and commodifying practices of the life drawing. But it is the female model who suggests and prompts alternative viewing practices: there are men who studiously examine her, but then there are also men who look not at her but at each other in conversation, some who look bored, and even several who seem to be alseep.