TASTEFUL: Kees Bruin's nude which now adorns a Sumner shipping container. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Sumner has has never been a nudist beach - officially anyway.
But there is one lady who won't be putting on clothes any time soon, in spite of the crisp spring weather.
The "Muse", a nude woman painted by Christchurch artist Kees Bruin has seated herself among the containers lining Main Rd.
She is the latest addition to the Container Art project curated by Sumner artist Bryan L'Estrange and graphic designer Dinesh Patel, who are slowly turning the containers into a roadside art gallery.
The containers are there to protect the road from falling boulders and aftershocks.
Curator Mr L'Estrange said he had no reservations about placing the nude on the container.
"It really is a conservative nude. Though slightly risque I thought why not? It was perfect to go on the containers because it is so striking from a distance,'' he said.
But artist Mr Bruin was slightly more hesitant: "I tentatively gave my permission but I was a little bit nervous about it,'' he said.
"Even one of my friends said to me it was a really bad move and a really bad idea. He said it would cause controversy,'' he said.
But since the tasteful nude has been hoisted onto the container, Mr Bruin says he has had nothing but compliments.
"I have had perfect strangers coming up to me and asking: Are you the person who did the painting? Then they say: Let me shake your hand.''
But the one question everyone wants answer is: Who is the brunette beauty?
She is a combination of a black and white photo off the internet of an international model, a real person, and Mr Bruin's artistic licence.
Mr Bruin painted the "Muse" in 2007. The image on the container is a reproduction.
Mr Bruin says it is up to the viewer to interpret the meaning of the painting.
He said there is a "secret code'' within the painting which reveals all.
"There is a tiny little piece which in the original painting was really difficult to see with the naked eye. But now it is a lot more visible.''
"Just from looking at her you cannot tell if she is a contemporary woman or historical - the secret code clears that up,'' he said.
The wall which the woman sits on is the view from Mr Bruin's Esplanade art studio. He has added the frieze of Achilles losing his lover to the King of Greece.