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Nude portrait of heavily pregnant Sienna Miller star of Jonathan Yeo's new exhibition

  • @matildbattersby

Sienna Miller has followed in the footsteps of Kate Moss and Demi Moore by posing naked for an artist while heavily pregnant.

The actress, 30, who gave birth to her daughter Marlowe in July, sat for British artist Jonathan Yeo, 41.

The striking portrait (above) is a highlight of Yeo’s (I’ve Got You) Under My Skin exhibition at the Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin.

Yeo is well known for his ironic portraits of political figures, including Tony Blair wearing a poppy and a collage George Bush made from pornographic magazines.

Yet there is poignancy to his portrait of Miller which stands out in an exhibition predominantly exploring Yeo’s interest in surgical enhancement.

"This portrait of Sienna was painted a few weeks before the birth of her baby Marlowe and is part of a series of pictures of her which I plan to exhibit next year," Yeo said.

"I wanted an image that epitomised the human body in its most naturally beautiful state to make the sharpest possible contrast with my other paintings in this exhibition, which document patients undergoing cosmetic surgery in a bid to help them conform to societal notions of beauty."

Yeo's recent works are influenced by the German expressionists, including Otto Dix who painted the surgical innovations of the First World War, so he finds it "appropriate and necessary" that they are exhibited in Berlin.

The picture of Miller will doubtless draw parallels with Lucian Freud's portrait of a pregnant Kate Moss painted in 2003.

Yeo paid tribute to Miller's "courage" in sitting for the portrait.

He said: "The power of the painting partly lies in the fact that Sienna is widely regarded as being one of the most naturally beautiful actresses in the world as well as being a fashion icon to a generation of girls."

"I can think of many figures whose public currency in part revolves around their appearance, who would prefer to hide themselves away for nine months."

He described the "uproar" which greeted Annie Leibovitz's photograph of actress Demi Moore naked and pregnant on the cover of Vanity Fair 22 years ago, which made headlines around the world.

The photos heralded a slew of copycat magazine shoots featuring Mariah Carey, Cindy Crawford, Brooke Shields, Britney Spears and Claudia Schiffer. But Yeo remarks that "certain sections of society are still uncomfortable with the appearance of pregnancy and images of naked and expectant mothers are rarely seen".

Yeo, the son of former Conservative Minister Tim Yeo, has painted other household names including Nicole Kidman, Dennis Hopper, Lucian Freud, Rupert Murdoch and Minnie Driver.

The artist painted Miller previously in 2010.

He is no stranger to controversy. In 2002 his photorealist paintings for Theo Fennell were pulled from US magazines for their graphic nudity. The following year he caused uproar at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters by showcasing a full frontal nude painting of Ivan Massow.