User:Jahsonic/Notes on a photo by Félix-Jacques Moulin
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
- Update: In one of my previous posts, the above photograph is credited to Auguste Belloc, see Photographies obscènes pour stéréoscope
In the history of 19th century erotica, the pornographic as visual trope starts to emerge. In the establisment of this trope, images to be considered are the previously shown cum shot in the "ejaculating man" of Henry Monnier and the beaver shot in L'Origine du monde by Gustave Courbet.
Whilst the erotic can best be defined as any abstraction of sex, the pornographic is harder to define (see hard to define, see erotica vs. pornography debate). The first axiom in developing a "phenomenology of pornography" is that the pornographic is a subset of the erotic.
The development of photography hastened the process of defining the pornographic. Unlike painting, which can easily refer to the woman (see Venus (art), an ideal representation of femininity) as opposed to a woman, photography will necessarily always refer to a particular woman. In that lies the offensiveness of a nude photograph, one is all to aware of the real person who is being photographed. In the case of the above photo, one is all to aware of the genitalia of the woman photographed.* I've elaborated on the nature of photography with regards to the pornographic in a previous post.
The above photo was sourced from the mediocre erotic history book series Erotica: An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature (vol. 3, p. 60) which to my distaste states that:
- "[t]his selection of erotic material is absolutely clear-cut and unambiguous: the Marquis de Sade and other lesser prophets of cruelty and violence have been left to sweat in their own nightmares."
In May 2009, I went to the library and found a much better image of that same photograph in Le nu stéréoscopique, 1850-1930. The book says that the photo is usually attributed to Félix-Jacques Moulin and dates fro c. 1854. It is in the Uwe Scheid collection.
* Not too many female pudenda have been depicted in history prior to the 1850s. One has to go back to Da Vinci (Female genitalia (Da Vinci))or Lequeu's Figures Lascives to find an artistic rendering of a vulva (note to self: have to buy Pussycats), or even pubic hair for that matter.