Classic Nudes is an interactive guide to an assortment of the world’s steamiest fine art. The project pairs a curated selection of erotic artworks from museums around the world with short, cheeky descriptions. From the Renaissance to Impressionism and everywhere in between, the works in the guide touch on cornerstones of art history. The guide can be found on Pornhub’s website, and for each museum it includes a map that lays out where the sexy artworks are, an audio tour voiced by Asa Akira, and a video guide for each museum included. The minute–long audio clips are playful and filled with innuendos and pop culture references. Predictably, the videos are NSFW and involve the recreation of sensuous scenes like Gossaert’s Adam and Eve. 

While Pornhub’s Classic Nudes guide draws on many works from the European artistic tradition, it does include the category “Another Perspective”—which purports to celebrate non–white bodies. Featuring art from regions such as South America and South and East Asia, this section tries to contribute to broader efforts to make the fine art world less Eurocentric. It’s unclear whether a small section in the guide is a genuine attempt at reaching that goal, or is just trying to garner praise by piggybacking off of the movement for inclusion. 

If you would be surprised to hear the words “Pornhub” and “Louvre,” “Prado,” or “Uffizi” in the same sentence, you wouldn’t be the only one. Legal teams from the three museums expressed their disapproval of the inclusion of works from their collections in the erotic guide, claiming it was “totally illegal” and had “been done without any permission.” The threat of legal action from three mighty museums was enough to convince Pornhub to remove their works, including Titian’s Venus of Urbino and Goya’s La Maja Desnuda, from its guide.

While regulations from the Italian government itself are certainly reason enough for the gallery to try to stop its images from appearing in the guide, they may not be the only motivation behind the Uffizi’s reaction. The greatly respected museum, which displays these so–called paragons of Western culture, likely would not want to associate with Pornhub, a site full of dirty images. The Uffizi (and perhaps the other museums that threatened legal action) could feasibly believe that the diminishment of its artistic treasures to mere smut would tarnish their reputation. While the inclusion of works from the previously mentioned museums certainly rounded out the museum guide, removing them didn’t spoil Pornhub’s party. Top museums such as the National Gallery, The Met, and the Musée d’Orsay are still part of the guide. 

For Pornhub, demystifying the close relationship between pornography and the arts was a goal of the campaign, one which clearly shocked and horrified many esteemed global fine art institutions. A previous project called Remastured, in which artificial intelligence experts restored historic dirty movies, had a similar intention. In what seems like an unrequited crush, Pornhub has consistently attempted to align itself with the arts, as evidenced by the project motto: "Because porn may not be considered art, but some art can definitely be considered porn.” 

While many museums viewed Pornhub’s actions as anything but charitable, the company claims it was trying to help them recover from the pernicious effects of the pandemic. By using eroticism to tempt audiences, Pornhub hoped it could arouse its consumer base in a different way than usual—one which would make fine art seem less pretentious and intimidating. Pornhub’s project creatively bridges a gap between two fields many consider as oil and water, attempting to argue that they may be more like flip sides of the same coin. Whether this logic is compelling or farfetched is a personal choice, but it is undeniable that the guide makes thought–provoking points.

The Classic Nudes guide by Pornhub is fresh and unexpected. Perhaps it is the bastard child of pornography and art history. In an old–world–meets–new–world fusion, it humbles fine art while also sophisticating pornography. Long story short: It’s hot. Check it out.