How much merit does the last line from the essay "The Nude in Museums" hold in modern society?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The essay "The Nude in Museums" was published in The Atlantic Magazine in 1901, and as such referred to a much different social and cultural norm than today. The concept of nudity, even in art, was much less acceptable. In the essay, the anonymous author argues that nude art is perfectly acceptable for adult audiences, and should be relegated to a closed room instead of being displayed in common rooms. The last lines, though, show a more modern approach to the subject:

In the meantime, let us wait. There is no hurry. Do not let us oppose our canon of taste, however cultivated, to a canon of morals held by a considerable number of sincere persons, however mistaken.
("The Nude in Museums,"

The point is that social norms will change, and so nude art should not be simply eliminated for moral concerns. With time, nude art has become more acceptable in modern society, which would not have happened if it had been suppressed. In this sense, the author's point is valid; passive resistance, in the form of keeping the art private instead of public, had the desired effect. However, it could also be said that the cultural norms have deteriorated in a moral sense; this is up for interpretation. Regardless, the idea that even nude art should be taken entirely in an artistic sense, rather than with perverse intentions, remains a point of contention today.