Journal 1 - Erotism in Art

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Artists throughout the ages have always looked towards the female nude with reverence, respect and awe.

The female form itself is a beautiful, sensuous and curvaceous study of lusciousness. No matter how large or small, a simple gestural pose can be seen as erotic. The placement of the hips, the tilt of the head, the rounded buttocks and breasts, confronting the viewer and stirring the imagination. Unashamedly wickedly female, innocent and vulnerable, yet aware of her beauty and power.

The artist whom I will single out as a lover of the female form and collaborator of their beauty and erotism is Gustav Klimt. He was born in 1862 in what become known during his life as the city of sex, Vienna.

Klimt truly adored women – he flattered them, and had an overwhelming fascination for beautiful women. Although he never married, he was always surrounded by his life models, who were available at his beck and call at his studio. Many of those models were private escorts and courtesans during a time where promiscuity and conservationism were competing on equal terms.

A 27 year relationship with his sister in law Emilie Flog resulted in beautiful works that she had posed for. Earlier in Klimt’s career, many people denounced his work as pornographic, shocking and unfit to be seen in Viennese society. This is at a time where hedonism, the expression of sexual pleasure, the sex worker, and every private escort dominated in every scene and peak of the social fabric of the day.

When you see Klimt’s work and the legacy he has left behind, you are breathless and left wanting for more.
For example Danae, the work is extremely sensual – her shape flows, she is suggestive, her eyes closed, her lips parted – she taunts the viewer with her rounded thighs.
Undoubtedly The Kiss is Klimt’s most well-known work. The couple in The Kiss are locked together passionately, both melting into each other, for them there is no one else and nothing else that matters at this time. The work is highly decorative and embellished and the use of gold highly evident.
Gold encompasses many of Klimt’s other works and sexual symbols can be seen on the backgrounds and on clothing.

He kept all his affairs discreet, his own limitless sexual appetite and his private companions all too evident. Gustav Klimt died on the 6th February 1918 after suffering a massive stroke. He has left us with a taste of his genius – the master of erotism.

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