A POSITIVE reaction came from the crowd when the Art Gallery of Ballarat revealed its much anticipated The Naked and the Nude exhibition on Saturday.While some small children were seen giggling at the naked bodies on display, art connoisseurs took their time wandering through the three large rooms that will house the famous artworks until December.At the opening, gallery director Gordon Morrison said it was the first paid exhibition at the newly renamed gallery."I'm very, very proud of this exhibition," he said."It's the best thing we've done to date."Art Gallery of NSW curator of Australian Art Barry Pearce spoke at the opening and called the exhibition "seriously ambitious and profound"."It's an important subject in all of art," he said of the naked and the nude theme."It represents the push and pull of our very existence."I have great admiration for how much the exhibition represents and what it has achieved."The Naked and the Nude features works by famous artists such as Norman Lindsay as well as lesser-known artists.The range of art on display is immense, ranging from carved, marble bodies to simple sketches to finely painted, gold-framed antiquities, to more modern paintings.While there were concerns the exhibition might be perceived as crass, the overall atmosphere and response at the opening was positive, with one visitor commenting: "It's fabulous, it's just the sort of thing Ballarat needs."The Naked and the Nude will be open until Sunday, December 7, at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.Entry to the exhibition is $10 for adults, $6 concession and children under 16 are free.