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Long before visual media got so racy and Fifty Shades of Grey entered family bookcases, fine art featuring erotic or sexually suggestive material was confined to the depths of profanity, blasphemy, and secrecy. Yet, the history of erotic art is not the history of naughty images but a vivid reminder of what human societies consider to be either sacred or profane. Historically, representations of sex were allocated special meanings in Ancient societies, and via Hindu and Buddhist mythology it is not uncommon to see graphic depictions of erotica on the walls of holy temples. Arguably, our current public discomfort for all things erotic stems from the frigid ideologies of the Puritan movement in Britain and America and the wide-reaching influence of British Victorian society. Ever since, depictions of sex have been allocated their own sordid category: pornography.

But as ever, it is up to artists of every ilk to overturn these relatively recent prejudices about representing the erotic. From Modigliani’s languorous lovers, whose forms seem to writhe beyond the realms of representation, to Picasso’s clandestine Cubist renderings of sexual acts, erotica was an inexorable ingredient in the art of Modernism. But even before, in Ingres’ Orientalist daydreams, Klimt’s gilded decadence, and Bouguereau’s neo-classical visions, the desire to portray the most private and natural human urges has never been far from the surface of the canvas. In the modern age things have become rather cynical; sex is used to sell. Today, it is important to remember the transformative power of erotic art as a tool for challenging and overturning the disapproving frowns of the new puritans.
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Water Serpents II 1907 By Gustav Klimt Canvas Print #1098
Nudo Sdraiato By Amedeo Modigliani Canvas Print #1462
Blue Nude By Pablo Picasso Canvas Giclee Art Print #315
Mother And Child By Gustav Klimt Canvas Print #326
Danae By Gustav Klimt Canvas Print #1101
Reclining Nude By Amedeo Modigliani Canvas Print #1464
Grande Odalisque by Jean-Auguste Ingres Canvas Print #1903
The Wave (La Vague) by William-adolphe Bouguereau Canvas Print #1821
Olympia By Edouard Manet Canvas Print #1422
The Birth of Venus by William-adolphe Bouguereau Canvas Print #1417
The Three Graces by Peter Paul Rubens Canvas Print #1439
The Judgment of Paris by Peter Paul Rubens Canvas Print #1505
Girl in Bed by Paul Gauguin Canvas Print #1288
Gay Women Kissing LGBT Photographic Art Print #7003
Deux Thaitiennes (Two Tahitian Women) by Paul Gauguin Canvas Print #1279
Marilyn Monroe Life Magazine Cover Vintage Poster Canvas Print #5058
Madonna By Edvard Munch Canvas Print #1304
Sexy Ice-cream Licking Photographic Art Print #7210
The Embrace (The Loving) By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8170
Reclining Female Nude By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8094
Art Nouveau Advertising Vintage Poster #5266
Women Friends 1916-1917 By Gustav Klimt Canvas Print #1113
Hylas & The Nymphs Canvas Print #9353
Olympia By Edouard Manet Canvas Print #8025
Reefer Madness Vintage Movie Poster Canvas Print #5127
Seated Nude By Amedeo Modigliani Canvas Print #1723
Beautiful Woman By Amedeo Modigliani Canvas Print #1466
Blonde, Prevented Black Strupfen By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8193
Blondes Nude Model Sitting on a Brown Cloth By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8194
Crouching Nude Girl By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8200
Nude with Coral Necklace By August Macke Canvas Print #1500
Nude Woman Canvas Giclee Art Print #30
Sailor Pinup Girl on Cannon Vintage Poster By Enoch Bolles Canvas Print #5037
Female Lovers By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8212
Female Nude Lying On Her Stomach By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8174
Female Nude with Yellow Towel By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8150
Erotic Body Canvas Giclee Art Print #10
The Bather of Valpincon Jean Ingres Canvas Print #1833
Model In Profile, 1886 By Georges Seurat Canvas Print #1390
Girl with Green Stockings By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8102
Kneeling Down with Bent Head By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8158
Lovers By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8093
The Fall of Man by Peter Paul Rubens Canvas Print #1504
Leda and The Swan by Peter Paul Rubens Canvas Print #1443
Woman At Her Toilet By Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec Canvas Print #1459
Lovers By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8257
Nude Self-Portrait By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8250
Reclining Female Nude 2 By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8259
Bathing Girls with Town In The Background By August Macke Canvas Print #1502
Standing Female Nude, Arms Crossed in the Back (Stehender Frauenakt, Mit Im Rucken Verschrankten Armen) 1906-1907 By Gustav Klimt Canvas Print #1114
Standing Female Nude Facing Left, Holding Her Hair (Stehender Madchenakt Nach Links, Die Haare Mit Den Handen Haltend) By Gustav Klimt Canvas Print #1115
Reclining Female Nude with Violet Stockings By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8097
Sketches By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8086
Two girls lying Act By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8248
Reclining Semi-Nude With Spread Legs (Liegender Halbakt Mit Gespreizten Beinen) 1917-1918 By Gustav Klimt Canvas Print #1116
The Beast That Killed Woman Vintage Horror Movie Poster Canvas Print #5070
The Lollipop Girls In "Hard Candy" Vintage Adult Movie Poster Canvas Print #5101
Sexy Sugar Coated Cherry Photographic Art Print #7212
Seated Female Nude with Raised Right Arm By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #1863
Nymph Abducted By a Faun By Alexandre Cabanel Canvas Print #1859
Half-Figure of a Bather by Jean-Auguste Ingres Canvas Print #1902
The Red Bust By Amedeo Modigliani Canvas Print #1722
Le Repos De La Baigneuse 1912-1914 By Auguste Renoir aka Pierre-Auguste Renoir Canvas Print #1150
Come on Over Beach Pinup Girl Vintage Poster By Art Frahm Canvas Print #5036
The Girl with The Magic Box Vintage Movie Poster Canvas Print #5095
Nudes Inc. (aka The Story of 8 Girls) Vintage Movie Poster Canvas Print #5123
Nurse Betty Canvas Print #10124
Betty Boop in a Perfect Posture Canvas Print #10114
Summer Nights by Keith Mallett #9896
The Surprised Nymph By Edouard Manet Canvas Print #8054
Before the Mirror By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8147
Black-Haired Girl with Lifted Skirt By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8192
Crouching Female Nude By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8227
The Dancer By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8242
Female Model in Bright Red Jacket and Pants By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8075
Female Nude with Green By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8151
Female Torso with his Shirt Pulled Up By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8247
Girl Act Against Colored Cloth By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8105
Girl with Crossed Legs By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8101
Girl in Green Bonnet By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8215
Two Girls (Lovers) By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8078
Knabenakt By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8155
Kneeling Nude Girl By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8160
Kneeling Nude Woman with Outstretched Arms By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8159
Left Border Female Nude By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8116
Love Making By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8260
Lying Half-naked Woman By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8098
Male Nude Propping Himself Up By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8263
Male Nude Torso By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8107
Man with Bowler Hat & Pince-Nez By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8109
Mother and Daughter By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8266
Naked Girls Embracing By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8269
Nude Boy Standing By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8241
Nude Female Back By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8153
Nude Girl with Folded Arms By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8106
Young Nude Girl in the Ocher-Colored Cloth By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8230
Nude Girl Standing from the Backside By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8152
Nude Self Portrait By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8270
Nude Self-Portrait By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8271
Self Portrait Grimacing By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8220
Portrait of a Pregnant Woman By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8187
Semi-Nude (Self-Portrait) By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8222
Reclining Nude Girl in the Striped Overalls By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8258
Two Reclining Nudes By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8079
Sad Nude Female By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8148
Seated Female Nude By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8138
Seated Girl By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8268
Seated Male Torso By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8145
Seated Nude Girl II By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8304
Seated Nude Girl II By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8169
Seated Nude Girl with Pigtails By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8140
Seated Nude Girl with a Shirt Over Her Head By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8136
Seated Woman with Her Left Hand in Her Hair By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8168
Seated Woman with Pushed Up Dress By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8134
Sedentary Half Act with Red Hair By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8303
Self Portrait Nude By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8251
Self-Portrait with Splayed Fingers By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8300
Semi-Nude with Colored skirt and Raised Arms By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8223
Semi-nude in Black Stockings and Red Garter By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8095
Sitting Back Act By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8137
Sitting Girl with Falling Hair By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8139
Sitting Semi-Nude with Blue Hairband By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8302
Squating Girl By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8161
Squatting Female Nude By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8310
Standing Female Nude with Blue Cloth By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8238
Standing Female Nude By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8249
Standing Female Nude with Stockings By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8239
Standing Male Back Act By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8236
Standing Male Nude with Arm Raised, Back View By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8262
Standing Man (Self-Presentation in Red Shirt) By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8237
Standing Nude Young Girl By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8285
Standing Woman in a Patterned Blouse By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8311
Standing Woman In Red By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8235
Torso of a Kneeling Girl By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8146
Two Women Embracing By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8076
Two Women Embracing II By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8083
The Unsalvageable Ego By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8074
Woman Laying Nude By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8149
Woman Undressing By Egon Schiele Canvas Print #8133