A painting normally considered too upsetting for modern tastes – bloodthirsty hounds, triumphant hunter and speared otter – is to go on display as the centrepiece of a new exhibition examining the artistic celebration of hunting and sport.Too upsetting..?
For a public that laps up Goya's works, that trots along in huge numbers to Gunther von Hagen's 'Bodyworlds'..? That made the exhibition of Aztec artwork, with its representations of flayed corpses, and actual killing implements, a smash hit?
Curators at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham, admit they thought long and hard about whether a visitor warning for Sir Edwin Landseer's depiction of a Highlands otter hunt (the otter lost) was needed.This is the fear of offence once again. If there's no warning and a child (or these days, an adult!) bursts into tears, there might be litigation, and bad publicity!
Better to hide it away in case...
Exhibition curator Laura Layfield admitted that, while impressive, the painting is undeniably "gruesome" and the reason why it was taken off permanent display by its owners, the Laing in Newcastle.*sigh* Note that, once again, this is a decision made by others based on what they think might be the case. There's no reference to any actual complaints.
The British Sporting Art exhibition runs 11 May-10 October. Let's hope it's the first of many.