UNLIKELY muse Nell McCafferty has explained the reasons behind her controversial nude pose.
The writer raised eyebrows during the past week after a painting of her standing naked in her bedroom was unveiled at a Dublin art exhibition.
She told the Herald: "It basically says 'look at me, I'm f**ked' but I think it is beautiful."
And the much-loved journalist hit back at critics, including Terry Prone, who thought that Nell's pose betrayed everything that she stood for.
"The mystifying bit is Nell's rationale," wrote Ms Prone this week in the Herald.
"Here's a woman who, for 40 years, has been on the frontline of feminism, with her rallying cry of 'Sisters'.
"Feminism, in the 60s and 70s, was about moving women away from being sex objects and forcing society to see them as equal citizens, not represented by half-naked models draped across car bonnets or fully naked Playboy bunnies photographed in an artful way to make money for Hugh Hefner."
But Nell believes that Ms Prone may have misunderstood her actions. "I have always respected Terry and love to hear her points of view, but I think she may have not understood fully what I have said on why I did this," Nell said.
"Sure, I'm against people using the beauty of women to sell cars and things, and that hasn't changed. The message is different here, it is about showing the body for all its age.
"I haven't exactly had any offers from car companies asking me to help sell even their second-hand cars since the picture appeared. What would I sell? Trabants?," she said with loud laughter.
Despite some criticism, Nell has said that appearing in her birthday suit for all to see has generated a lot of positive comments, both from people close to her and strangers.
"I must say that anything anyone has said has been along the lines of 'well done' or 'you're very brave', but I have had some great welcomes from people I don't even know," Nell said.
There's a guy from Pakistan that runs a shop [here] who said to me 'Ahh, you are the lady with no clothes on,' when I went in to buy something the other day," she laughed.
Nell's nude pose is part of an exhibition by portrait artist Professor Daniel Mark Duffy.
In the exhibition singer Mary Coughlan, former top model Jackie Rafter and Tina Heffernan, have bared all to celebrate the beauty of mature women.
The women -- all over the age of 40; one of who is 95 -- will feature in a future art exhibition, but Nell has already taken her place in art history as her nude portrait is on display at the opening of the annual Royal Hibernian Academy exhibition.
"I thought it was lovely. We're naked as nature intended," said Nell about her picture.