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The body, past and present

Beauty from the Renaissance to the present. Painter Charlotte Joffe, philosopher Heather Widdows, and writer and historian Catherine Fletcher talk to Anne McElvoy.

Can beauty be an ethical ideal? What did being handsome mean in C18 England? How do we look at images by Egon Schiele and Francesca Woodman or a Renaissance nude and is that affected by changing attitudes towards the body now? Anne McElvoy talks to the painter, Chantal Joffe, the philosopher, Heather Widdows, the writer, performer and activist Penny Pepper and the New Generation Thinkers Catherine Fletcher and Sarah Goldsmith.

Chantal Joffe's solo show - Personal Feeling is the Main thing - is at the Lowry in Manchester until 2nd September.
The Tate Liverpool exhibition Life in Motion: Egon Schiele and Francesca Woodman runs until September 23rd.
The Italian Renaissance Nude by Jill Burke from the University of Edinburgh is out now from Yale University Press.
Penny Pepper's book First in the World Somewhere, a memoir is published by Unbound

New Generation Thinkers is a scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to select ten academics each year who can turn their research into radio.
Sarah Goldsmith is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Leicester working on A History of the Eighteenth-Century Elite Male Body
Catherine Fletcher is Associate Professor at Swansea University who has published Diplomacy in Renaissance Rome and The Black Prince of Florence.

Producer: Zahid Warley

Main image: Detail from The Squid and the Whale, 2017 by Chantal Joffe (c) - Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice.

Available now

45 minutes


The body - a very human obsession

The human body and its parts - from feet to skin to nipples - and what they represent to us.

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Role Contributor
Presenter Anne McElvoy
Interviewed Guest Chantal Joffe
Interviewed Guest Heather Widdows
Interviewed Guest Catherine Fletcher
Interviewed Guest Sarah Goldsmith
Producer Zahid Warley


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