Artist's nude paintings removed from cathedral exhibition after complaints they caused 'distress'

Joe Greenwood’s paintings were removed from Portsmouth Anglican cathedral after complaints they had caused ‘distress’ (Picture: Getty)

A local artist’s nude paintings had to be removed from a cathedral’s art exhibition after complaints that they had caused people ‘distress’.

Joe Greenwood’s acrylic canvas works were part of the Portsmouth and Hampshire Art Society’s (PHAS) summer show on display at Portsmouth’s Anglican cathedral.

But apparently a number of visitors complained about the paintings, and they have now been taken down.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Portsmouth said: “Whenever a public exhibition takes place in a church it is important to weigh up how it relates to our main purpose of being a place for prayer, reflection and worship.

“When planning the exhibition the paintings were considered to be suitable but a number of visitors and regular worshippers expressed distress about them and, in consultation with PHAS, it was decided to remove them from the exhibition.”

The spokesman added: “This decision is not a reflection on the quality of the artist’s work but on our duty to balance the needs of all those who come to the cathedral.”

But Mr Greenwood said his art had been “misconstrued”.

MORE: Sister of missing midwife makes tearful appeal for her safe return
MORE: Donald Trump brands the press ‘fake, fake disgusting news’ in latest attack on the media

The 40-year-old, from Southsea, told the Portsmouth News: “This was my first proper exhibition, so it makes me sad my paintings have been misconstrued in this way.

“Nudity itself is not a sexual thing, it’s just a human form, and there is a lot of it in religious art – look at the Sistine Chapel for example.”