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As for that famous smile, its enigmatic quality has driven people crazy for centuries. This gets into the debate over whether or not Vermeer employed a pre-photographic device called a camera obscura to create the image. He portrays her looking over her shoulder, locking her eyes with the viewer as if attempting to establish an intimate connection across the centuries. Venus is seen being blown ashore on a giant clamshell by the wind gods Zephyrus and Aura as the personification of spring awaits on land with a cloak.
Goya's Nude Maja, confident in her nakedness as she unashamedly gazes out at the viewer, is infamous for her direct confrontation. Rumored to be a portrait of Goya's own mistress, this painting was commissioned for the private boudoir of a wealthy patron, hidden from the public eye. But when discovered, this erotically-charged masterpiece shocked audiences at the time and paved the way for the transgressive, boundary-pushing ethos of Modern Art.
We're here to let you in on a pretty widely known secret about art history: It's dirtier than you remember. Visions of Venus and sensual octopuses are probably filling your memory now -- yes, your art history classes were more exciting than you first thought. In celebration of the wildly erotic tendencies of artists over the centuries, we've put together a list of the most jaw-dropping-ly sensual artworks you might have forgotten about since your sophomore year stint in a Renaissance art survey course.
Several artists refer to the female body as a masterpiece and an epitome of perfection. To convey their ideas about female beauty, a number of artistes have portrayed the female body in different types of arts. Some of these paintings have fetched millions of dollars through to exclusive art collectors.
Nude paintings have the power to shock as well as the ability to move people. This is due to the beauty with which some artists can render the body in oil paints. Many contemporary artists are still trying to find new ways to cause outrage with their paintbrushes, but not always, and in fact a lot are harking back to more classical depictions of nudity. The artists selected here touch on both these ideas in their explorations of the human form in its natural glory.
No one has ever painted naked women as gorgeously as Titian did. His ravishing Venus is a lover laying her beauty bare, and the recipient of her optical largesse is anyone who happens to stand in front of this painting in the Uffizi gallery in Florence, Italy. Titian creates with mind-boggling skill the lavish presence of this nude: the rapture of her carnal glory.