They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder — if that’s true, then let the bidding begin! Play your cards right, and you could end up the proud owner of a nude masterpiece painted by one of the TODAY hosts.
Earlier this month, Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry and Al Roker took a field trip to the New York Academy of Art to learn how to paint the “classic nude.” (Watch the artists put their skills — and maturity — to the test.) Now, the “forbidden fruits” of their labors are headed to the eBay auction block.
Should you bid, bear in mind that 100 percent of the proceeds will go to benefit charity — specifically Feeding America, a domestic hunger-relief charity, and New York Academy of Art, a not-for-profit institution devoted to the study of the human figure.
Brushing up their skills
The anchors seemed excited but unsure of what to expect as they arrived for their lesson. “I'm a little nervous about this, I gotta say,” confessed Meredith.
“I'm worried that I'm going to end up with a stick figure with boobs,” Matt fretted.
However the hosts’ teacher for the day, New York Academy of Art professor Catherine Howe, was encouraging, telling the team to “loosen up.” “Learning to draw the nude is the best way to learn to draw, period. And it's a is heck of a lot more exciting than drawing an apple or a box,” she said.
Matt, Meredith, Ann and Al began their artistic exploration with an two-minute exercise in drawing still lifes of a bowl of fruit.
Their next assignment was to depict a male and female model representing Adam and Eve — in the buff. The TODAY hosts dove in, and Professor Howe offered her feedback as they painted.
“Don’t avoid ... certain areas of the figure,” she told Ann. (New female students tend to skip drawing the genitalia, Howe explained, because they don’t want to stare.)
In contrast, Howe observed that Meredith was “bravely moving into the male figure” and Al was placing “an overemphasis on certain parts of the female anatomy.”
Meanwhile, Matt — like Meredith — was avoiding the genitalia completely. “I'm going back there,” the budding artist insisted.
A display of naked talent
After the canvases were complete, the work was anonymously displayed at Soho’s Martin Lawrence Gallery. Hidden cameras were set up to capture feedback from visitors — and while some of the critiques were positive, others were downright cruel.
Later, however, Ann shrugged it off.
“Even if our art is bad, so what. I don’t think any of us have ever painted naked people before. Bucket list, check.”
Tune in to TODAY on Monday, March 30 for more details on the auction, and check TODAYshow.com Monday morning for the link to the eBay auction.