There have been numerous perceptions of eroticism and sensuality that found their way to canvases of grand artists who cherished unique expressions throughout the ages. Some of these paintings and prints were even forbidden as a result of rigid church rules that didn’t allow anything outside the established norms of what’s right and what’s wrong. And carnal, erotic pleasures were identified with sin in the Christian philosophy. Nevertheless, this couldn’t stop the artistic tendencies over the ages so we now have the opportunity to admire the variety of erotic art works that are equally bold, advanced, sensual and erotic.
Fun fact: a full-figured woman was considered the embodiment of fertility (and thus, beauty and sensuality) for a quite considerable period of time so we’re guessing that ladies who today are known as BBW singles were once muses of great artists! Long story short, these are some of the most famous artworks that have withstood the ravages of time and earned their rightful places in erotic art’s hall of fame!
Katsushika Hokusai’s “Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” – 1814
Hokusai is a representative of the Japanese shunga art and this is one of his most famous artworks that depicts a fisherman’s wife that is sexually pleased by one giant and one small octopus. Nowadays, there are countless hentai – which are adult animated movies that also originate from Japan – that feature the same erotic elements – giant tentacles that are pleasing females so we’re guessing this was the original source of the inspiration.
Gustav Klimt’s “Seated Woman With Legs Apart” – 1916
Klimt’s undoubtedly one of the world’s favorite artists who gained his fame due to his love and erotica-inspired art pieces. And “Seated Woman With Legs Apart” is, in this sense one of his most explicit works, as it depicts a young female enjoying the act of self-pleasing or masturbation.
Egon Schiele’s “Friendship” – 1930
This isn’t the only Schiele’s work that tackles the erotica but it certainly is more suggestive compared to his other paintings, as it represents two naked individuals in a sexy pose where a male is hugging a female from behind, gently leaning his head on her back. The viewer can basically feel longing and lust if they look at it carefully enough.
Diego Velázquez’s “Venus at Her Mirror” (between 1647 – 1651)
This painting is also known as “Venus and Cupid” and is definitely very provocative given that it originates from the 17th century. A young, curvy Venus is enjoying the sight of her own nakedness in the mirror which is being held by Cupid.
Gustave Courbet’s “L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World)” -1866
This is an explicit portrait of the unknown woman’s intimate parts that are covered with thick pubic hair (another former erotic symbol and stimulus). The name of the painting itself suggests that the artist celebrates the female role in procreation yet the painting remains unequivocally erotic.
Andrea Riccio’s “Satyr and Satyress” (between 1510-1520)
Riccio’s erotic bronze statue represents two satyrs involved in a sexual act and if we take into account that these creatures were messengers of Bacchus, the god of wine and lust, we can see why this amazing artwork radiates so much desire and sexual tension.
Giulio Romano and Marcantonio Raimondi’s “I Modi (The Positions)” – 1510 -1520
The renaissance Europe was all about pastoral surroundings and utter harmony – which were clearly shaken by these 100% erotic, illustrated sexual positions. No wonder it was banned back then, however, it still managed to keep its bestseller status for a considerable period of time.
Agostino Carracci’s “Lascivie” – 1585 – 1600
“Lascivie” are perhaps less explicit than “I Modi” but still strongly erotic, with only difference being that these printed series of artworks – of which only a few survived due to merciless Church persecution – usually featured biblical and mythological creatures instead of two or more people that were involved in a sex act that we find in Marcantonio Raimondi.
Salvador Dalí’s “The Great Masturbator”- 1929
Dalí was famous Spanish surrealist, recognizable for his one of a kind painting style. In the words of the artist himself, The Great Masturbator is sort of a self-portrait that testifies about his own sexual anxieties. Dalí was also famous for his fear of female genitalia and for believing that his penis was too small. This majestic piece of art offers a kind of reconciliation between the heterosexual anxieties that allow him to please both a woman and himself, without even having to touch each other.