Fig Leaf – Writer and broadcaster Stephen Smith uncovers the secret history of the humble fig leaf and opens a window onto 2,000 years of Western art and ethics.
Stephen reveals how the work of Michelangelo fuelled the infamous “Fig Leaf Campaign” – the greatest cover-up in art history; how Bernini turned censorship into a new form of erotica by replacing the fig leaf with the slipping gauze; and how the ingenious machinations of Rodin brought nudity back into the public eye.
In telling this story, Stephen turns many of our deepest prejudices upside down, showing how the Victorians had a far more sophisticated and mature attitude to sexuality than we do today. He ends with an impassioned plea for the widespread return of the fig leaf to redeem modern art from cheap sensation and innuendo.
Producer: BBC Productions
TX: Autumn 2010 / Winter 2011
Source: BBC Press Office