This painting in particular was created by someone who tended to depict pubescent girls in similarly suggestive poses.
Balthus is well-known for his erotically-charged paintings of young girls. Is that really something we want to encourage others to emulate? If victims of sexual predators happen to visit an art museum, should they have to worry about being confronted with art like this?
In cases like this, context is important.
You may have learned from your college professor that “the author is dead.”
…But is the author really dead if we’re still celebrating their work?
But some art is made specifically to make people uncomfortable.
And this painting certainly accomplishes that.
Have we gotten too soft as a society? Or are we now just more aware of the damaging effects this sort of art can have?
Controversies in the art world are intense and difficult.
But these are also such important conversations to have. Besides creating art in the first place, actually discussing those pieces is yet another thing that sets us apart from animals.
As of right now, the Met has refused to remove the painting from its halls.
This entire controversy has certainly given us a lot to think about.
(See what we did there?)
What do you think? Is context important to understanding a work of art, or does it stand on its own merits? Do you think the Met made the right call? Let us know!