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. Behold, 15 classic works that are way naughtier than you remember. That is, Dead White European Males dominate the archives, and as a result, nude women are usually the subject of historical erotic art.
Famous Nudes - Oil Painting Reproductions | 1st Art Gallery
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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.
There are many reasons that the female nude is such a popular subject for painting. It is an aesthetically pleasing subject. Most artists and most patrons have been men. It is an extension of a centuries long tradition of life drawing. It has the potential to be erotic.