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Renowned Australian artist dies in Italy

The celebrated Australian urban landscape artist Jeffrey Smart, who has lived in Italy since 1964, has died at the age of 91.

Renowned Australian artist dies in Italy
Jeffrey Smart died in hospital in Arezzo. Photo: Thomas Shahan/Flickr

Smart had spent recent months in and out of hospital near his home in Tuscany and died overnight, one of his agents, Stuart Purves, told Australian media.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard led tributes, describing Smart – best known for his stark and detailed urban scenes which made ordinary industrial landscapes beautiful – as "a great Australian artist – and great Australian artist internationally".

"Though he lived in Italy for the past five decades, Mr Smart always regarded himself as an 'Australian living abroad'.

"Our nation mourns the loss of one of its most original and brilliant creative voices," Gillard said.

Born in Adelaide in 1921, Smart's paintings explored the modern landscape, including freeways, airports, apartment buildings and factories, with his most famous work 'The Cahill Expressway' showing a lone, suited man under the concrete Sydney underpass.

"In my early 20s I decided I'd painted my last billabong (bush) scene forever," he once said.

He studied under French painter Fernand Leger in Paris in 1949 and returned to Australia before relocating to Italy in 1964.

In 2010, Smart's 'Autobahn in the Black Forest' sold for €710,000, bringing him into the million dollar club, and his work ethic saw him still painting at 90.

"Jeffrey Smart would be regarded as one of the most significant Australian painters ever," said Tony Ellwood, director of the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

"He is highly regarded, has been highly influential for decades," Ellwood told the ABC.

Smart's partner, Ermes De Zan, was with him when he died in hospital in Arezzo, reports said.

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TOURISM

The new guide to Florence’s Uffizi Galleries – showing only the nudes

There are lots of guides to the visual splendours of Florence's world-famous galleries - but for those with a short attention span comes a new one, showing only nude or erotic artworks.

The new guide to Florence's Uffizi Galleries - showing only the nudes
Sandro Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" is the most famous work included in a controversial new guide to the Uffizi Galleries. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The online guide to the gallieries is produced by the porn website Pornhub and provide a list of the best erotic artworks in each museum, plus directions of how to get there – so you don’t need to waste your time looking at paintings of people in clothes.

Part of the site’s Classic Nudes series of ‘erotic’ guides to some of the world’s most renowned museums, the guide for the Uffizi lists 21 artworks, together with a tongue-in-cheek commentary, and the location of each piece within the galleries.

“The Uffizi Gallery is located in the birthplace of the Renaissance: Florence, Italy. So it’s no wonder it has such a large collection of artwork from the era. But what you may find surprising is the sheer volume and variety of naked bodies rendered in paint, bronze and marble in this marvelous museum,” writes Pornhub.

Among the works featured are Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1485) and the Roman statue of the Knidian Aphrodite, dating from the 1st Century.

The guide also includes the Venus of Urbino by Titian (1538), which it calls “kinky”, and Painting and Poetry by Francesco Furini (1626), which is described as featuring “two ridiculously hot babes who just so happen to be making out”.

Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Bosses at the Uffizi were not amused at the gallery’s inclusion in Pornhub’s series and have threatened to sue.

Meanwhile in Paris, the Louvre’s management has said only that it is ‘dismayed’, while the Musée d’Orsay remained silent on the subject.

As is hopefully clear, the Pornhub guides are explicit in nature and not suitable for children.

The Uffizi does, however, provide a great day out for all the family and contains a lot of fully-clothed artwork too. At present it is operating with reduced visitor numbers due to health rules, so advance booking to recommended.

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