Musings on nudity and eroticism in art
|drawing by Paul Cadmus|
Le Sommeil by Gustav Courbet
Gustav Courbet, the father of realism, is also known as a painter of erotic imagery. His “Le Sommeil,” a painting of two naked women asleep with arms and legs entwined, is considered one of the more erotic paintings in Western art history, and it is often debated whether or not his “The Origin of the World” is pornographic. To me, “Le Sommeil” is somewhat erotic but also, like the Gauguins, very sweet and innocent, and I do not think “The Origin of the World” is pornographic; nor do I think it is particularly arousing. Some of the artworks I do find to be highly erotic are drawings by the sculptor Pierre August Rodin and paintings by Amedio Modigliani, and drawings and paintings by Cadmus drawings, who is about the only artist I know of who has made pictures of both male and female subjects that are tastefully erotic.
|Odalesque, acrylic on canvas by Alec Clayton 1985|