EROTICISM IN ART

By Carlos Risco, Illustration by Killetron July 2015 LIFESTYLE Read in PDF format N6/2015
EROTICISM IN ART SEX AND CREATIVITY HAVE ALWAYS GONE HAND IN HAND

The art world has always explored the concept of eroticism – be it in ancient symbolic images or boldly explicit statements where provocation is the ultimate goal. From the sexual frescos at Herculaneum to the watermelon slices with which Picasso symbolically referred to fertility, art challenges us to confront our own erotic selves. Back in the post-medieval atmosphere of the Renaissance period, El Bosco’s triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights featured images of unrestrained carnal lust. Centuries later, The Nude Maja by Goya, which is said to be the first famous nude in Western art showing female pubic hair, led to outrage for its ‘obscene’ nature. Goya positioned the model looking directly and almost defiantly into the spectator’s eyes as she displayed her beautiful body. This work, alongside others such as Titian’s Venus of Urbino, paved the way for later pieces such as Manet’s Olympia, featuring a Parisian prostitute as its main protagonist. In the mid 19th century, Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai’s The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife was far more explicit, showing a woman enjoying sex with a pair of octopuses. And more recently, in a compelling blend of historic and contemporary art, performance artist Deborah de Robertis exposed her vagina while sitting in front of Gustave Courbet’s celebrated 19th-century erotic oil painting The Origin of the World in Paris’s Musée d’Orsay. Sex, it seems, will continue to inspire – for, as David Lynch says, it is “the doorway to something so powerful and mystical”

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