Sexuality in Western Art  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Eroticism in Western Art (1972) is a book on western erotic art by Edward Lucie-Smith revised as Sexuality in Western Art, 1991. It is a study of eroticism in Western art, with a provided rationale for its eurocentric approach.

The book is noted for its innovative taxonomy of eroticism. The first part is divided chronologically and the second part iconically. The whole book is informed by Freudian theory.


Contents

Introduction

I believe from the 1972 edition.

"This book is intended to trace the history, and describe the functions, of erotic art in a single culture - that which has its origins in Western Europe. The reasons for confining my approach to the subject in this way are twofold. One is lack of space. It would take several volumes the size of this one to give even an outline account of the way in which erotic art has functioned in all the cultures known to us. The second reason is more weighty. We must admit that erotic art in the European tradition makes concrete what is very intimately part of ourselves. The Oriental and African erotica which it is now fashionable to study undoubtedly has a wit, a charm, a power and a beauty of its own. But it seems impossible for Europeans to experience its content in the same way as we experience that of European art, because it springs from a different and alien tradition. This has not prevented me from using examples from other cultures where they shed light on an aspect of my own theme.
It is also my intention to put as much emphasis upon the artistic value of the works illustrated and discussed as upon their eroticism. There is a tendency, among those who write about erotic art, to concentrate upon representations which illustrate sonic specific aspect of sexual activity, without laying much stress on the aesthetic quality of the representation. Undoubtedly, the bad or mediocre work of art offers the commentator certain advantages. It is seldom as complex or as subtle as a work of real quality, and what it has to say is said openly, even crudely- At the same time, the commentator is protected from the assumption that he is ignoring, or even insulting, aesthetic values in his search for erotic content. If, during the course of this book, I seem to pursue erotic symbolism in a masterpiece at the expense of its greatness, I hope to be forgiven. My assumption has always been that any work worth discussing for its erotic or sexual significance must also be worth talking about regarded simply as a painting or as a piece of sculpture.

Though I am not a psychoanalyst, this book makes use of certain of the simpler analytic concepts, and also of analytic terminology. [such as displacement]

TOC

PART ONE: CONTEXTS

CHAPTER ONE

The erotic and the sacred

CHAPTER TWO

The open secret

CHAPTER THREE

The new paganism

CHAPTER FOUR

Eroticism and realism

CHAPTER FIVE

Cruel fantasies

chapter six

Love for sale

CHAPTER SEVEN

The all-devouring female

CHAPTER EIGHT

Erotic metamorphosis

PART TWO: SYMBOLS

CHAPTER NINE

Venus observed

CHAPTER TEN

Lust in action

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Deviations

CHAPTER TWELVE

Pleasurable pains

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Here comes a chopper

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Symbols and disguises

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Eroticism and modernism

Further reading

List of Illustrations

Index

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sexuality in Western Art" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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