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Pornhub Classic Nudes art tour
Courtesy of Pornhub

Pornhub cuts videos from its erotic art tour amid backlash from museums

The Louvre and Uffizi galleries have previously threatened legal action against the NSFW platform for its Classic Nudes series

Pornhub has removed a range of material from its recently-launched Classic Nudes series, following complaints from galleries about the use of their works in the interactive tour of erotic art. As of August 15, works housed in Florence’s Uffizi gallery, Madrid's Prado museum, and the Louvre in Paris have all been pulled from the adult platform’s dedicated website.

The Louvre originally called out the Pornhub project last month, just a couple of weeks after it first launched. “Pornhub has heard from our lawyers,” the gallery stated. “We expect the works to be removed at once.”

The Uffizi, which also threatened legal action, took its condemnation a step further, saying in a strongly-worded statement that the use of its paintings was “totally illegal”, and that they should be removed immediately. 

“In Italy,” the gallery added, “the cultural heritage code provides that in order to use images of a museum... it is necessary to have the permission, which regulates the methods and sets the relative fee to be paid. All this obviously if the museum grants the authorisation which, for example, would hardly have been issued in this case.”

The content taken down by Pornhub due to the backlash includes digital reproductions of famous works, which featured background information and audio guides, as well as NSFW video interpretations of selected artworks.

Guided tours of Musée d’Orsay (Paris), National Gallery (London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), and more remain available on the Classic Nudes site, however, offering an in-depth look at paintings such as Courbet’s “L’Origine du monde” and Artemisia Gentileschi’s “Bathsheba at Her Bath”. 

“The museum’s Open Access program provides public access to hundreds of thousands of images of works in our collection, and we generally do not seek to regulate the wide range of uses of these images,” Kenneth Weine, chief communications officer at the Met, told Hyperallergic in July.

Despite distancing the museum from the Pornhub project, a spokesperson for the National Gallery also says that it “will not be taking any action that directly or indirectly raises awareness of this project”.