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Last Updated: Monday, 10 November, 2003, 13:25 GMT
Award promotes 'beautiful' nudes
Ulla Plougmand-Turner's Woman With Flame Coloured Hair
The winning painting is called Woman With Flame Coloured Hair
A society championing 'beautiful' female nudes is handing out its inaugural award on Monday.

The Society for the Appreciation of the Female Nude (SAFN) wants to encourage artists who paint traditional nudes rather than "ugly" figures, it said.

The society will hand out their first Venus Award to artist Ulla Plougmand-Turner for her work Woman With Flame Coloured Hair.

A society spokesman said it was a reaction to contemporary nudes.

Jonathan Rush said the society was a group of "art lovers who are bored with looking at geometric or ugly nudes in galleries".

It will present the prize to Danish artist Plougmand - Turner at the Luke & A Gallery in Mayfair in central London on Monday night.

'Ghastly and grotesque'

"Modern artists who want to paint traditional nudes do not seem to be able to show their work," he said.

The fashion for painting such nudes had started, he said, with Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907, which Mr Rush said had caused a furore when it was painted.

The painting shows four nude prostitutes with geometric faces and bodies that Mr Rush said looked "ghastly and grotesque".

"Since then modern artists have been painting nudes without much reflection of reality."

Ulla Plougmand-Turner
Artist Ulla Plougmand-Turner is a former model

Mr Rush said the society planned to make the Venus Award an annual event.

"We're hoping that out of a little acorn a mighty oak will grow. We seem to have hit a nerve with this award," he said.

He said the society had surveyed 300 people visiting galleries and said 50% of them had said they did not like modern nudes.

"People may say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but most people would agree that there is a difference between Catherine Zeta Jones and a Fat Slag from Viz," Mr Rush said.

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