When Art and Literature Collide

The recent unveiling of a statue of Mary Wollstonecraft – the seventeenth century campaigner for women’s rights and mother of acclaimed horror novelist Mary Shelley has sparked some controversy.

Most people seem to feel that women have enough statues, but a small minority complain that the statue portrays Wollstonecraft as being naked, when public nudity is not a thing she was known for.

One local artist has taken it upon themselves to redress the balance. Speaking exclusively to Newsnibbles, they said:

There are lots of statues of naked women dotted about, all over the place in fact. Just look at the Venus De Milo. But how is anyone going to remember or recognise men for their achievements if we don’t have nudes representing all their hard work. It’s all very well saying things like “We have statues of Churchill in London – he was a man” but no-one stops to look at him. And the reason? He has all his clothes on. Simple. Men are just being forgotten and hidden away behind clothes.

I hope to fix this. My project “Getting Men Seen” will be taking famous literary men, and literally undressing them. Introducing them to the world in all their nakedness. I’m hoping that a Lady Mayoress or perhaps museum director will see how necessary my project is and commission it.

Whilst waiting for the project to be commissioned they will be releasing a number of sketch projects over the next few weeks, that we will be featuring exclusively here on Newsnibbles. Even if the statues can’t get the funding they deserve, it is our fervent hope that by publishing the sketches, along with little snippets of information about these underrepresented male writers, we will at least do our bit to uncover men’s history.

The first sketch is William Shakespeare. Perhaps best known for being married to Anne Hathaway (not the actress), William also wrote a number of plays, that Queen Elizabeth the first liked so much she let him do it for a job! Here’s the statue:

It is a sketch of Shakespeare standing naked atop a pile of books. A scroll covers his genitals and he is brandishing a quill

As you can see, I have him standing on top of books and holding a quill to show that he was not just a man, but also a writer…

The artist told us. We will have more on this series in the coming weeks.

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