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DIRTY PICTURES: THE SEXY SYMBOLS INFAMOUS ARTWORK THAT YOU NEVER NOTICED

DIRTY PICTURES: THE SEXY SYMBOLS INFAMOUS ARTWORK THAT YOU NEVER NOTICED

Artists have been conveying ideas about sex and intimacy for centuries- ancient Greeks, randy Romans, and erotic Egyptians. Still, society necessitated a sophisticated creative approach to amour for periods of history. Symbols and codes linked to sex, desire, and forbidden love arose, allowing artists to represent and express their desires while maintaining decorum. This article complies with a list of the jaw-dropping sensuous artworks created in history in honor of artists' erotic tendencies throughout history.

Sexy Symbols In Famous Artwork

Francisco de Goya’s “The Nude Maja”

This painting is from around 1800. According to Detarman et al. (2022), "the first obscene life-size female nude in Western art" is one of the earliest images of female pubic hair. The Catholic Church forbade the public show of artistic nudes at its creation. Goya's nude and her modest companion, "The Clothed Maja," were never shown publicly during the artist's tenure.

Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Dream Of The Fisherman’s Wife”

There's no doubt about this painting's sensual character. The print depicts a fisherman's wife enjoying an unusual meeting with an octopus and illustrates the Japanese shunga art. Do you know who the artist is? The man behind "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" had more up his sleeve than landscape likenesses.

Hleronymus Bosch’s “The Garden Of Earthly Delights”

"The Garden of Earthly Delights" is known for its horrifying, otherworldly animals. The picture also contains sensual elements that are appealing. The painting dates to between 1490 and 1510 and depicts crimes, including naked men and women who are seen frolicking with one other and horses, birds, mermaids, and plants. Writers described this art as one that soothes adolescent sexual desire.

Paul Cezanne’s “Seven Bathers”

According to Egan et al. (2009), Cezanne captured women while bathing. "Seven Bathers," However, depicts naked men, while some are in an androgynous manner. This tableau of exquisitely constructed masculine bodies may not be sensual to subjects. The artist's play with classical body depictions and the interplay between the audience's gaze and nakedness creates a borderline sensual aesthetic. Cezanne is thought to have created this from recollection or imagination due to a shortage of models.

Titian’s “Venus Of Urbino”

"The foulest, the vilest, the obscene picture the world possesses," Mark Twain once said of Titian's Venus. The nude girl is provocative in the 1538 work of art, with her uninhibited nudity and powerful glance into the viewers' eyes. It is a true piece of art.

Gustav Klimt’s “Frau Bel Der Selbstbefriedigung”

Klimt, an Austrian symbolist painter known for his shimmering canvases, is known for works such as "The Kiss" and his portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer. Such images and the naked people appearing in his other works radiate sensuality. Nothing compares to "Frau bei der Selbstbefriedigung."

Peter Paul Ruben’s Copy Of Michelangelo’s “Leda And The Swan”

It was acceptable for early 17th century audiences to see a woman participating in explicit actions with a bird than a human. "Leda and the Swan" was conceived based on the Greek story in which Zeus disguises himself as a swan and "seduces" a woman named Leda. According to Denis et al. (2000), Cesare da Sesto and Cezanne used the vulgar narrative as a source of inspiration for their paintings.

Edouard Manet’s “Olympia”

Does this look familiar to you? Manet based his 1863 painting on Titian's "Venus" and Goya's "Nude Maja." According to writer Antonin Proust, the artwork of a sex worker was controversial because the precautions adopted by the government prevented the painting from being damaged and ripped at its first showing.

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s “The Swing”

This 1767 Rococo masterwork is rich in symbolism, revolving around a young woman's adulterous affair. "See that man hiding in the woods on the canvas's left side? He's getting a glimpse of the woman's dress and a kick from that kicked-off shoe". Is it erotic? Take spooky from the 18th century.

Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies Of Avignon)

Five nude sex workers supposedly from a brothel in Barcelona are depicted in Picasso's iconic Primitivist artwork. The artwork is a proto-Cubist interpretation of sensuality, with its unusual female forms and intense gazes.

Diego Velazquez’s “Rokeby Venus”

Velázquez's nude artwork, dubbed "The Toilet of Venus," "Venus at her Mirror," "Venus and Cupid," or "La Venus del Espejo," depicts a woman enjoying the sight of her naked self. The work was on the salacious side for a picture created between 1647 and 1651, a period marked by the Spanish public's hatred for nudes in art. (Titian and Rubens painted Venus in front of a mirror.)

Edouard Manet- Olympia 1856

Edward Manet's portrayal of a courtesan sparked uproar among Parisians because it portrayed prostitution that was not popular. The way Olympia's eyes were fixed on the viewers outraged the people because it was unusual for ladies to stare at someone as the painting's subject.

James McNeill Whistler-Arrangement In Grey And Black No.1

The picture was intended to study colors and function as an assemblage of gray, black, and white. The artist paired the thinly painted dark clothing of the painted woman with luminous and layered hands and face to animate the subject and challenge the narrative art. The artist's mother is depicted in oil on canvas painting, sitting on a chair in the comfort of her home.

The Bottom Line

Art,  like texts, is intended to be "read" through critical analysis. Paintings can be more complex than they look. Giving a picture a glance look may not give an interpretation of what it is about. Deciphering them can be challenging if the observer does not speak the same language as the artist. Pictures convey messages. Iconography-a piece of art's symbolic language can be complex, just like those listed above. Expressing communal consciousness or drawing on the artist's own experience. Artists have utilized prostitutes as models and muses for their work throughout history because they present an amusing physique and embrace nudity. While this long-standing tradition has been overlooked, some artists now opt to infer or openly state what their work is about.

Reference;

Denis, R. C., & Trodd, C. (Eds.). (2000). Art and the Academy in the Nineteenth Century. Manchester University Press.

Determan, T. A. (2022). Bare: the Modern Female Nude Uncovered.

Egan, S. (2009). A Venus of Wild Nights: The Female Nude in Paintings by Judith Linhares. The Gettysburg Review22(3).

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