Barcelona museum stages exhibition that can be visited completely naked

The Archaeology Museum of Catalonia and the Catalan Naturist Club have programmed a very special visit to the exhibition ‘The Riace bronzes’ on October 28

Alfonso L. Congostrina

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Museum of Archeology of Catalonia
Archive image of spectators at a nudist play.

Visiting a museum totally naked — although shoes are recommended — is now possible in Barcelona. The Archaeology Museum of Catalonia and the Catalan Naturist Club have programmed a very special visit to the exhibition The Riace bronzes on October 28. The exhibition displays large-format photographs by the artist Luigi Spina in which two naked statues from the 5th century B.C feature. The idea behind the experience, as stated on the museum’s website, is that visitors can somehow see themselves reflected in the work in “the same situation as they are, completely naked and surrounded by other bodies.”

Art historian, actress, and playwright Irene Vicente Salas is the exhibition’s guide. Last summer, Vicente staged the temporary art exhibition Corpus at the National Art Museum of Catalonia, a montage that brought dance, circus, and music to the museum and even served as an excuse to analyze some of the works. “From there I was asked by the Catalan Naturist Club if it would be possible to do a naked guided tour of the exhibition. I looked into it, and it seemed like a wonderful experience,” he says.

On September 30, the first visit took place. Thirty naked people walked through the corridors of the museum following the indications of Vicente, who also provided her explanations in the absence of any type of clothing. “A very particular relationship is established with the images of the nude pieces and, for me — I am not a nudist, although I practice it sporadically — I was surprised by the naturalness with which centuries of false prejudices quickly evaporate,” says the historian.

The huge photographs in the exhibition show the sculptures found in 1972 at the bottom of the Calabrian sea, with details of different parts of the sculptures’ bodies.

The entrance fee for this nudist experience is €7 and, according to the Archaeology Museum of Catalonia’s website, seating is limited. “This is not the first time such an initiative has been carried out. In the museum of Cerdanyola (Barcelona) there have already been naturist visits but it is true that they are not common and that citizens demand these events,” says Vicente.

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