VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Vienna's prestigious Leopold Museum is usually a pretty buttoned-down place, but on Friday, some of the nudes in its marble galleries were for real.
Scores of naked or scantily clad people wandered the museum, lured by an offer of free entry to "The Naked Truth," a new exhibition of early 1900s erotic art, if they showed up wearing just a swimsuit - or nothing at all.
With a midsummer heat wave sweeping much of Europe, pushing temperatures into the mid-90s Fahrenheit in Vienna, the normally staid museum decided that making the most of its cool, climate-controlled space would be just the ticket to spur interest in the show.
"We find a naked body every bit as beautiful as a clothed one," said Elisabeth Leopold, who founded the museum with her husband, Rudolf. "If they came only out of lust, we have to accept that. We stand for the truth."
Peter Weinhaeupl, the Leopold's commercial director, said the goal was twofold - help people beat the heat while creating a mini-scandal reminiscent of the way the artworks by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and others shocked the public when they first were unveiled a century ago.
"We wanted to give people a chance to cool off, and bring nakedness into the open," he said. "It's a bit of an experiment. Egon Schiele was a young and wild person in his day. He'd want to be here."
Most of those who showed up in little or no attire Friday opted for swimsuits, but a few hardy souls dared to bare more. Among them was Bettina Huth of Stuttgart, Germany, who roamed the exhibition wearing only sandals and a black bikini bottom.
Although she used a program at one point to shield herself from a phalanx of TV cameras, Huth, 52, said she didn't understand what all the fuss was about.