erotic art

18th Century Illustrations from the Works of Marquis de Sade

by
Daulton Dickey.

img_4360Psychopath, madman, degenerate, depraved, rapist, monster—you can find dozens of adjectives to describe Marquis de Sade, and most fit. The man responsible for the words “sadism” and “sadist” lived a deplorable live filled with violence and depravity. As a consequence of his actions—and writings—he spent a bulk of his life in prison.

His books manage to shock readers even today. They’re appalling, disgusting, philosophical, tedious, interesting, thought-provoking, and grotesque. But they’re not without merit and they’ve found a peculiar place in the western canon.

Earlier editions of his books, hidden in libraries and owned by elite members with certain sexual proclivities, included fascinating and grotesque illustrations. Below are a few examples. Enjoy. Or not. (more…)

Gustave Courbet and The Origin of the World (L’Origine du monde)

by
Daulton Dickey.

Courbet and the Academy

In France in the nineteenth century, an elite group dictated art. The Academy, as it’s known in English, held strict ideas about art–all of them derived from the classical world, the Renaissance, and the baroque era. The men who ran the Academy dictated artistic tastes by preserving the past. New artists didn’t stand a chance if the Academy refused to exhibit their work.

Their power constituted a form of cultural totalitarianism–and few people challenged them. If you were an artist in the nineteenth century and you wanted them to consider your work, then you had to follow their rules. Paintings could only depict mythological, historic, or religious scenes or stories. Artists had to conceal brushstrokes. They couldn’t depict modernity. They could stage models or paint modern landscapes, but they had to present them as ancient or historic stories or allegories.

An artist violating these and other rules didn’t stand a chance with the Academy. And if the Academy rejected you, you’d probably never make it. (more…)