Thursday, March 7, 2019. New York City – Erotic photography? Erotic paintings? Erotic sculptures? Erotic drawings? Erotic films? Erotic writings? Erotic art is beautiful art!
It is all in your mind. Something can be erotic for somebody and the same thing can not be erotic for somebody else. It is all in our minds. It is about the programs that we have in our minds about the naked human body.
Some people hate the naked human body and some people love the naked human body. Some people hate their own bodies and some people love their own bodies. Why is that? Who taught you to hate your body? Who taught you to love your body? Your parents? Your pastor, priest, teacher? Who taught you to hate the nude human body? Who taught you to love the nude human body?
“Sexually explicit images, other than those having a scientific or educational purpose, are generally categorized as either erotic art or pornography, but sometimes can be both. Japanese painters like Hokusai and Utamaro, in addition to their usual themes also executed erotic depictions. Such paintings were called shunga (literally: “spring” or “picture of spring”). They served as sexual guidance for newly married couples in Japan in general, and the sons and daughters of prosperous families were given elaborate pictures as presents on their wedding days. Most shunga are a type of ukiyo-e, usually executed in woodblock print format. It was traditional to present a bride with ukiyo-e depicting erotic scenes from the Tale of Genji.
Shunga were relished by both men and women of all classes. Superstitions and customs surrounding shunga suggest as much; in the same way that it was considered a lucky charm against death for a samurai to carry shunga, it was considered a protection against fire in merchant warehouses and the home. The samurai, chonin, and housewives all owned shunga. All three of these groups would undergo separation from the opposite sex; the samurai lived in camps for months at a time, and conjugal separation resulted from the sankin-kōtai system and the merchants’ need to travel to obtain and sell goods. Records of women obtaining shunga themselves from booklenders show that they were consumers of it.
The Khajuraho temples contain sexual or erotic art on the external walls of the temple. Some of the sanctuaries have erotic statuettes both on the outside of the inner wall. A small amount of the carvings contain sexual themes and those seemingly do not depict deities but rather sexual activities between human individuals. The rest depict the everyday life. These carvings are possibly tantric sexual practices.
Another perspective of these carvings is presented by James McConnachie in his history of the Kamasutra. McConnachie describes the zesty 10% of the Khajuraho sculptures as “the apogee of erotic art”: “Twisting, broad-hipped and high breasted nymphs display their generously contoured and bejewelled bodies on exquisitely worked exterior wall panels. These fleshy apsaras run riot across the surface of the stone, putting on make-up, washing their hair, playing games, dancing, and endlessly knotting and unknotting their girdles….Beside the heavenly nymphs are serried ranks of griffins, guardian deities and, most notoriously, extravagantly interlocked maithunas, or lovemaking couples.””_Wikipedia.org
“The definition of erotic art is somewhat subjective, and dependent on context since perceptions of both what is erotic and what is art vary. For example, a sculpture of a phallus in some cultures may be considered a traditional symbol of potency rather than overtly erotic. Material that is produced to illustrate sex education may be perceived by others as inappropriately erotic.
A distinction is often made between erotic art and pornography, which also depicts scenes of sexual activity and is intended to evoke erotic arousal, but is not usually considered fine art. Some draw a distinction based on the work’s intent and message: erotic art would be works intended for purposes in addition to arousal, which could be appreciated as art by someone uninterested in their erotic content. US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously wrote that the distinction was intuitive, saying about hard-core pornography which would not be legally protected as erotic art, “I know it when I see it”
Among the oldest surviving examples of erotic depictions are Paleolithic cave paintings and carvings, but many cultures have created erotic art. Artifacts have been discovered from ancient Mesopotamia depicting explicit heterosexual sex. Glyptic art from the Sumerian Early Dynastic Period frequently shows scenes of frontal sex in the missionary position. In Mesopotamian votive plaques from the early second millennium BC, the man is usually shown entering the woman from behind while she bends over, drinking beer through a straw. Middle Assyrian lead votive figurines often represent the man standing and penetrating the woman as she rests on top of an altar. Scholars have traditionally interpreted all these depictions as scenes of ritual sex, but they are more likely to be associated with the cult of Inanna, the goddess of sex and prostitution. Many sexually explicit images were found in the temple of Inanna at Assur, which also contained models of male and female sexual organs, including stone phalli, which may have been worn around the neck as an amulet or used to decorate cult statues, and clay models of the female vulva.
Depictions of sexual intercourse were not part of the general repertory of ancient Egyptian formal art, but rudimentary sketches of heterosexual intercourse have been found on pottery fragments and in graffiti. The Turin Erotic Papyrus (Papyrus 55001) is a 8.5 feet (2.6 m) by 10 inches (25 cm) Egyptian papyrus scroll discovered at Deir el-Medina, the last two-thirds of which consist of a series of twelve vignettes showing men and women in various sexual positions. The men in the illustrations are “scruffy, balding, short, and paunchy” with exaggeratedly large genitalia and do not conform to Egyptian standards of physical attractiveness, but the women are nubile and they are shown with objects from traditional erotic iconography, such as convolvulus leaves and, in some scenes, they are even holding items traditionally associated with Hathor, the goddess of love, such as lotus flowers, monkeys, and sacred instruments called sistra. The scroll was probably painted in the Ramesside period (1292-1075 BC) and its high artistic quality indicates that was produced for a wealthy audience. No other similar scrolls have yet been discovered.
The ancient Greeks painted sexual scenes on their ceramics, many of them famous for being some of the earliest depictions of same-sex relations and pederasty, and there are numerous sexually explicit paintings on the walls of ruined Roman buildings in Pompeii. The Moche of Peru in South America are another ancient people that sculpted explicit scenes of sex into their pottery. There is an entire gallery devoted to pre-Columbian erotic ceramics (Moche culture) in Lima at the Larco Museum.
Additionally, there has been a long tradition of erotic painting in Eastern cultures. In Japan, for example, shunga appeared in the 13th century and continued to grow in popularity until the late 19th century when photography was invented. Similarly, the erotic art of China reached its popular peak during the latter part of the Ming Dynasty. In India, the famous Kama Sutra is an ancient sex manual that is still popularly read throughout the world.
Moche ceramic depicting fellatio, ca. 200 AD, Larco Museum Collection
In Europe, starting with the Renaissance, there was a tradition of producing erotica for the amusement of the aristocracy. In the early 16th century, the text I Modi was a woodcut album created by the designer Giulio Romano, the engraver Marcantonio Raimondi and the poet Pietro Aretino. In 1601 Caravaggio painted the “Amor Vincit Omnia,” for the collection of the Marquis Vincenzo Giustiniani.
An erotic cabinet, ordered by Catherine the Great, seems to have been adjacent to her suite of rooms in the Gatchina Palace. The furniture was highly eccentric with tables that had large penises for legs. Penises and vaginas were carved on the furniture. The walls were covered in erotic art. The rooms and the furniture were seen in 1941 by two Wehrmacht-officers but they seem to have vanished since then. A documentary by Peter Woditsch suggests that the cabinet was in the Peterhof Palace and not in Gatchina.
The tradition was continued by other, more modern painters, such as Fragonard, Courbet, Millet, Balthus, Picasso, Edgar Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Egon Schiele. Schiele served time in jail and had several works destroyed by the authorities for offending contemporary mores with his depictions of nude girls.
By the 20th century, photography became the most common medium for erotic art. Publishers like Taschen mass-produced erotic illustrations and erotic photography.
Today, erotic artists thrive, although, in some circles, much of the genre is still not as well accepted as the more standard genres of art such as portraiture and landscape. During the last few centuries, society has broadened its view of what can be considered as art and several new styles developed during the 19th century such as Impressionism and Realism. This has given today’s artists a broad variety of genres from which to choose, including; fantasy, pinup, horror, fetish, comics, anime, hentai, and many other niche genres all with erotic elements.
Classic “war-era” pin-ups like the works of Alberto Vargas, Gil Elvgren and Baron Von Lind, are still as popular as their contemporaries: Bunny Yeager, Greg Hildebrandt, Olivia De Berardinis, Hajime Sorayama, Alain Aslan, and others.
The acceptance and popularity of erotic art has pushed the genre into mainstream pop-culture and has created many famous icons. Frank Frazetta, Luis Royo, Boris Vallejo, Chris Achilleos, and Clyde Caldwell are among the artists whose work has been widely distributed. The Guild of Erotic Artists was formed in 2002 to bring together a body of like-minded individuals whose sole purpose was to express themselves and promote the sensual art of erotica for the modern age.
Between 2010 and 2015 sexologist and gallerist Laura Henkel, curator of the Erotic Heritage Museum and the Sin City Gallery, organised 12 Inches of Sin, an exhibition focussing on art that expresses a diverse view of sexuality and challenging ideas of high and low art. In 2015 Henkel collaborated with former MoMA curator and art historian Rosa JH Berland to create the Modern Provocateur Manifesto, that describes artwork that is about human sexuality.”_Wikipedia.org
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