Erotic Art

Erotic Art Introduction


No art form has captured humanity, shaped cultures and divided opinions as much as erotic art.


One of the oldest existing art forms, erotic art has come to be a widely recognized and respected art because of its foundations in the history of civilization and its ability to create dialogue and controversy.


Erotic art has been explored by most cultures throughout the ages and its beginnings can be traced back to the paintings and carvings of Paleolithic times.


So how do we define erotic art and why is it celebrated as one of the most influential art forms in history?

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The Naked Maja


La Maja Desnuda, or ‘The Naked Maja’ is one of Francisco Goya’s most fascinating contributions to the history of erotic art.

(picture taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_maja_desnuda)

This oil on canvas portrays a naked woman reclining on a bed of pillows and is believed to be one of the first depictions of female pubic hair in Western art.

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Evanescent love – the beauty of Shunga


Shunga is one of the hidden treasures of traditional Japanese art, inspiring a period of erotic art that both fascinated and influenced an entire culture.

(picture taken from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Katsushika_Hokusai_-_Fukujuso.jpg)

The beginnings of Shunga can be dated back to the period of Ukiuo-e (floating world) between the 16th and 18th centuries. The ‘Floating World’ period reflected an impermanent world of fleeting beauty and entertainment, far removed from the hardships and responsibilities of the every day world. Most art from this period was executed in woodblock print, making it easy to produce at a high quality.

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The Venus De Milo


Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty.


The most celebrated statue of her was purchased for $50 by a French official who was stationed on the island of Milos in 1820. He then brought the statue home to present it to Louis XVIII who gave it to the Louvre Museum, where it remains to this day.


The Venus De Milo is a product of the Hellenistic period of Ancient Greek art, where physical characteristics of the sculpture portray the character’s inner world. The human condition and state of mind was a subject that was heavily covered during this period and the naked figure of Venus de Milo encapsulates the period’s embrace of eroticism.

 

(picture taken from http://www.sailingissues.com/greekislands/cyclades/venus-de-milo.html)
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Lady Chatterley’s Lover



Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the famous erotic novel, written by D.H Lawrence and first published in Italy in 1928.

Because of its controversial and explicit description of sex, it became the subject of the infamous trial of Penguin Books under Britain’s ‘Obscene Publications Act’. The trial revolved around the question of whether the novel possessed any literary merit, or whether it was pure pornography. After many experts were called as witnesses, a verdict of ‘not guilty’ was passed and the book was allowed to be published in 1960. This trial paved the way for widespread dialogue about the freedom of writers to publish explicit material. There were conflicting attitudes about the novel throughout the world with some countries using it as an example of sexual revolution, while most countries banned it on the basis of its ‘obscene’ nature.

(picture taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lady_Chatterleys_Lover.jpg)
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Erotic Photography or Trashy Porn?



Upon hearing the words ‘erotic photography’, most people conjure in their minds images of naked women exploiting themselves for quick money. Little do they know that erotic photography is one of the most celebrated forms of art, focusing on the beauty of the human form and using the medium of the camera to capture everything that eroticism is about.

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