An example of a work not radical in its time but seen as too explicit for later audiences, The Warren Cup was most likely proudly displayed in a Roman home, but then was considered too deviant for audiences right until the s. Depicting a Greco-Roman practice called pederasty, where young men would take older men as mentors and sexual partners, the what would later be considered homosexual acts depicted on the cup were hidden from public display for centuries before their exhibition, after which they inspired countless gay artists and writers into more radical artworks. The story of the seduction of Leda by Zeus disguised as a swan is filled with erotic potential, so its no wonder it has been attempted by so many, from Michelangelo though his version is sadly lost to Cezanne. An almost cartoon-like portrait of a monk breaking his vows, it looks more at home on a pier-front postcard than a work from a burin of an Old Master. A make-money-quick scheme made during a period of financial turmoil, this image aimed to appeal to the base instincts of a lower class clientele, who could afford an etching but not a painting.
10 Artists Whose Sexually Explicit Works Shocked the World
Sex and sexuality in art - from the erotic to the x-rated
By Artspace Editors. But what about those works whose subjects slid right past first base and sometimes even second and third? C— A. Image courtesy of the Art Insitute of Chicago.
NSFW! 10 Erotic Artworks That Will Make You Feel Like A Prude
Since the beginning of civilization, humans have incorporated sexuality into erotic art, worship, and daily life. There have been cultures and times were explicit references to sexuality were more accepted by societal norms, and times when there have not. However, the repressive view of sexuality espoused by the Church in the Middle Ages, and then the repressed sexuality of the Victorian era have left many in the Western world believing that few if any in the past were willing and able to accept and even revel in their sexuality. Most of us look to the past and think of an era where sexuality was a taboo subject, until the groundbreaking social changes of the 60s and 70s. This view was supported by many of the authorities of the 20th century, who often edited explicitly sexual objects and events out of history books and museums.
Koons' marriage to the former porn star 'La Cicciolina' prompted the apparently celebratory Made in Heaven , a series in which the artist's blurring of high art and kitsch focuses on the couple's own sexual relationship. Immediately controversial due to its often explicit nature, the works also marked an unprecedented expansion of the ideas underlying Koons' practice. With Made In Heaven , Koons' characteristic denial of a division between the vulgar and refined squarely confronts social as well as aesthetic expectations. The notion of 'good taste' is examined not only in terms of the art object, but through a questioning of commonly held assumptions regarding love, romance and sexual activity itself.