tagReviews & EssaysErotic Art Review Pt. 04

Erotic Art Review Pt. 04

byCal Y. Pygia©

In art, immorality cannot exist. Art is always sacred. -- August Rodin.

Some art, while it may not be better than other art, is more interesting--and more entertaining--that's for sure. It may also be instructive at times, but erotic art, if ever there was a form of art that deserves the term, is, first and foremost, exemplary of art for art's sake, providing, as it so often does, sex for sex's sake. It has no other defense than its own existence--and needs none. This essay reviews works of some of the masters--and mistresses--of the genre, considering both illustrations and paintings. The artists named herein are veritable treasure troves of erotica that is guaranteed to wet one's pussy or harden one's cock. Isn't that what erotic art's all about, when all is said and done?

Luis Royo

World-famous fantasy artist Luis Royo has a good deal of erotic art in the corpus of his work. A fine artist who executes his paintings in oils and acrylics, Luis is celebrated for the excellence of his exquisite work, in which his nudes, males and female, are not only so lifelike that they appear as if they could literally step off the canvases they occupy, but are also unfailingly beautiful or handsome, with flawless skin and golden complexions.

In one, a lovely young brunette, seated upon a stool, part of her dress a makeshift silk cushion, with her thighs well spread and her heavy white skirts lifted about her waist, and wearing, otherwise, only a pair of matching white silk stockings and ballerina slippers, exhibits the charm of her vagina--or, rather, the tiny cleft of it, decorated with a slender sliver, as it were, of brown pubic hair. The flesh of her exposed midriff, groin, and upper thighs is as soft as the silk garments she wears, and there is a directness in her coy gaze that seems to invite the viewer to enjoy a still more intimate acquaintance with her than his or her mere gaze can establish.

Several of Luis' paintings suggest bestiality, but with the beast an otherworldly, rather than a terrestrial, specimen. In one such painting, a platinum blonde, young, beautiful, and firm of body, sits astride a fantastic beast, whose head, lolling backward, shows a hideously misshapen skull, the jaws of which are lined with long, jagged teeth. Its shoulders are broad, and the muscles of its upper arms are thick with bulging muscles. Its lower arms are lost in darkness, as is all else but the creature's massive chest. It lies in the "V" formed by the top of a massive stone wall that has collapsed under the coupling couple. Behind them, tendrils and arches of foliage resembling Spanish moss suggest a swamp, and, on either side of the woman kneeling, with a leg on each side of the supine monster, human skulls rest where they've tumbled toward the lovers, presumably as a result of the wall's collapse.

She is attired only in gloves, ringed fetters, armbands about her upper biceps, a ringed collar, looped earrings, and a ringed belt, all of which appear to be made of black leather. Her eyes are closed, as if in passion, while her arms, bent at the elbows, are raised, and her fists are clenched, whether in ecstasy or triumph.

Is she celebrating her victory over the monster which lies dead beneath her? Is she fornicating with its corpse? Is the beast not dead, as it appears to be, but in the throes of orgasm, instead? The green fluid that streams down the wall under the monster's back could be its blood, which suggests, if not death, severe injury, endorsing the interpretation that, in fact, it is dead, which further implies necrophilia, if the blonde is fornicating with the monster rather than merely exalting over her having killed it. The meaning of the moment is as much in the mind of the viewer as it is in the painting, for Luis leaves the significance of the rather ambiguous picture he has created open to interpretation.

In another painting, a brunette, lovely, as all of Luis' women are lovely, stands before a hulking brute, two pairs of horns--one curved, the other straight--jutting from its conical head, as it stares with a fierce predator's gaze at the viewer, its drooling mouth open to disclose needle-sharp teeth.

It embraces the woman, its sharp claws leaving bleeding indentations in her right side and left thigh. Nevertheless, her countenance betrays no pain; instead, serenely, she stares at the viewer with as direct, if not as menacing, a gaze as that of her bestial lover's glare, even as the monster, clutching her, breaks her skin and salivates profusely upon her left triceps. She is bare-breasted, with full, firm, high, round breasts and well-delineated areolas and nipples, wearing only a breechcloth made of an animal's pelt and a series of strips of leather or cloth around her arms, between and over her breasts, and around her neck.

Behind her, portions of the monster's anatomy can be seen. Besides the huge head, the summit of its hunched back, most of its enormously powerful arms, and a portion of its burly upper right thigh are seen, as is the shaggy, matted fur that covers its entire body, face included. In its menacing, feral glare, its threatening stance, and the way that it holds its beloved, the monster conveys his total ownership of the woman, and his determination to keep his prize at any cost. She is not a captive, however; her own demeanor and serene facial expression make it clear that she is agreeable to her possession by such a powerful and bestial creature as the one who's claimed her.

Actually, another painting is extremely similar to this one, with the same sort of monster, but with a narrower face, lost in shadow, who sports huge wings. It stands behind the female figure, drooling upon her shoulder as it exposes needle-sharp teeth, and clutches her, thigh and pubes, in its powerful, long-clawed hands. The woman is a bit younger than her counterpart in the other painting, with longer hair, in tight auburn curls. A possession of her monster, this woman wears the same serene, expression, content in her being so possessed as her counterpart, in the other picture, wears.

Several of Luis' paintings indicate that angels--or, at least, human figures equipped with wings--are as excited by lust as are human males and are not in the least hesitant about availing themselves of the charms of mortal women. One such creature is shown, as he rests upon a ledge in the cliff he climbs, slightly below a brunette who, resting upon the same ledge, before him, wears a shirt and stockings, but neither shoes, panties, nor shirt, so that her buttocks are fully exposed and available as her companion, pressing his face into her derriere, kisses the sleek flesh of one of her full buttocks.

Another painting of this kind makes it clear that there are female angelic creatures as well as males in Luis' fantasy worlds, for one of them presses a male of her kind against a stone floor, mounting him, her own massive wings unfurled in a cascade of sparkling sunlight. He lies, head back, wings stretched at his sides, focused only upon the ecstasy to which her actions have brought him.

A set of four paintings depicts a petite, slender blonde, standing in a lake or pool of water that rises to the middle of her thigh, showing, panel by successive panel, her kneeling before the huge, humanoid monster that stands before her, to fellate him. As she descends, his large hands leave her hips, the right to fall to his side, the left first to caress her cheek before holding the side of her head. As she begins to service him orally, his other hand also falls to his side, and he becomes passive in his enjoyment of her activity.

It is rare that Luis shows one of the penises, erect or flaccid, of his monsters, but in one illustration, the naked creature's member, which is flaccid, is included. The member is as long--or slightly longer, in fact--than the forearm of the woman who walks, fully clothed--another rarity in a Luis painting--beside him, the top of her head coming to the level of his waist. His organ is also as thick, or thicker, than her lower arm. Although it seems likely that penis length among monsters would vary as much as it does among humans or animals, the length of this monster's organ suggests, at least, that, whether long or short by monsters' standards, a penis is likely to be, by human standards, monstrous, indeed.

Other of Luis' paintings show nubile young women fornicating with dragons, maritime monsters, demons, insect-like creatures, and some monsters that exist nowhere else but on the canvases and in the imagination of Luis himself. A few of his works also depict lesbian sex between beautiful young women--and a few even dare to feature heterosexual lovemaking between human beings!

Aubrey Beardsley

Aubrey is so famous as to need no introduction. Dead at age 26, a victim of tuberculosis, the highly literate Aubrey aspired, for a brief period, following the publication of his Tit Bits, to a literary career. However, he soon returned to his art, illustrating such literary works as Aristophanes' Lysistrata and Oscar Wilde's Salome. A practitioner of the art nouveau style, he is known, especially, for his inclusion, among his male figures, of enormous genitals.

Four of the paintings which feature such gargantuan genitals (all illustrations of Lysistrata) are The Lacedaemonain Ambassadors, The Examination of the Herald, Lysistrata Shielding Her Coynte, and Cinesias Entreating Myrrhina to Coition. To enjoy these illustrations, one should be familiar with the literary work, whether Lysistrata or Salome, that they decorate, for they are visual explications, as it were, of the puns, dialogue, or other text of these dramas.

The Lacedaemonain Ambassadors shows three men, the youngest and tallest of whom walks in the middle, flanked, on the left, by a turbaned old dwarf and, on the right, by another man, older than himself, who has a rectangular body and a face like that of a satyr. Their body hair--the dwarf has only pubic hair; the tall youth has both hairy armpits and pubic hair; and the satyr-like man has hair under his arms, on his chest, and on his groin--resembles clusters of grapes.

A tall, ridiculous feather rises from the dwarf's turban to a height nearly as tall as his own, the youth has a coiffure that is as full and luxuriant as it is tall, and the satyr-like man has relatively short locks which somehow manage to look oily and unclean. The men are all naked, except for the feathered turban that the dwarf sports and the boots that his fellow ambassadors, but not he, wear, and each of them sports an enormous erection, complete with gargantuan testicles. The dwarf's penis is the largest of the three men's, the glans as big as his head and rising to the height of his cranium. The youth's is also extraordinarily long, but slender, rising to just below his hairless chest. The satyr-like man's penis is somewhere between the extremes of his companions' members, thicker than the youth's, but not as substantial as the dwarf's, and rising only midway between his navel and his chest.

The text that occasioned Aubrey's illustration of The Lacedaemonain Ambassadors reads:

CHORUS
Here come the Spartan envoys with long, worried beards.
Hail, Spartans how do you fare?
Did anything new arise?

SPARTANS
No Need for a clutter o'words. Do ye see our condition?

CHORUS
The situation swells to greater tension.
Something will explode soon!

The sexual puns are obvious, as is their inspiration for Aubrey's ambassadors and their enormous phalli.

The Examination of the Herald is equally witty in its verbal expression of one of the scenes in Aristophanes' ribald comedy. The herald is examined by an old man in a dark robe, open down the front to reveal a relatively small and flaccid penis. By contrast, the virile young herald sports a gargantuan erection, its shaft as thick as his thigh and its glans as large as his head, with testicles the size of cantaloupes. Standing with feet planted wide, a serene look upon his face, the young man rests his hands against his upper thighs, instead of upon his hips, with his robe lifted over his penis to permit the old man's examination. As the examiner, who is one of his town's magistrates, bends near to the youth's glans, fingering the crown of the herald's member, this exchange of dialogue, in the play, would be taking place on stage:

MAGISTRATE
Are you a man or a Priapus?

HERALD
Don't be stupid! I am a herald, of course, I swear I am, and I come from Sparta about making peace.

MAGISTRATE
But look, you are hiding a lance under your clothes, surely.

HERALD
No, nothing of the sort.

MAGISTRATE
Then why do you turn away like that, and hold your cloak out from your body? Have you got swellings in the groin from your journey?

HERALD
By the twin brethren! the man's an old maniac.

MAGISTRATE
But you've got an erection! You lewd fellow!

In Lysistrata Shielding Her Coynte, which may have been the frontispiece of the volume containing Aristophanes' play, the protagonist, bare-breasted and wearing a flowing gown and a highly elaborate cloak, stands beside a herm (that is, a statue, often of Priapus--but, in this case, of a satyr--usually complete only from the middle of the thighs or the waist up, and without arms, but with erect penis included). She rests her left hand, which holds a laurel leaf, symbolic of peace, upon the summit of the glans of an enormous, disembodied erection, complete with a flowing mane of pubic hair. Her right hand is positioned over her sex, to protect her vaginal area ("coynte" is an archaic term for the vagina), an act which alludes to the play's plot, which has the women of Greece agree to withhold their sexual favors from their husbands until such time as the men, who are currently engaged against Sparta in the Peloponnesian War, agree to a treaty of peace with their adversaries. Lysistrata's name itself, loosely translated, means "she who disbands armies."

The title of another illustration in the series, Cinesias Entreating Myrrhina to Coition, is self-explanatory, referring to Myrrhina's husband's attempt to persuade his wife to give in to his desire for sex, despite her pact with Lysistrata and the other women of Greece not to do so until their men have established peace with the Spartans. In this drawing, only the absurdly large feather of his headdress; an elegant, ruffled sleeve, through which his arm thrusts, its hand grasping Myrrhina's richly embroidered, tasseled robe and snatching it backward, to expose her breasts, belly, pubes, left thigh, and left calf, which wears a dark stocking and is wound with rosebuds; and his massive erection, reared in irrepressible lust, are visible, at the left edge of the illustration, while all of Myrrhina's fleeing figure is seen as she dashes toward the picture's right border, her right hand to her breast, as if scandalized by the mere suggestion that she should break such a grave and solemn vow. The text that occasioned this drawing is dialogue, spoken by Cinesias:

A wicked thing, as I repeat.
O Zeus, O Zeus,
Canst Thou not suddenly let loose
Some twirling hurricane to tear
Her flapping up along the air
And drop her, when she's whirled around,
Here to the ground
Neatly impaled upon the stake
That's ready upright for her sake

Knowing the plot of the play and significant dialogue enhances the viewer's understanding and appreciation of Aubrey's drawings, although, to be sure, they are entertaining in their own right, showing the folly--and the humanity--of their subjects whose actions make them absurd, if familiar, figures not altogether unlike ourselves, at times, at least.

Plenty of other erotic artists are worthy of mention, so keep an eye out for additional essays in this series.

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