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2000 Years of The Art of the Erotic - A Book by Phaidon

  • Pierre et Gilles Pierre Commoy (b. 1950), Gilles Blanchard (b. 1953), Oreste (Staiv Gentis), 2013
January 26, 2018
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via this email: andreja.velimirovic@widewalls.ch

The erotic is a realm where desire and imagination meet.

This is the statement Rowan Pelling used to describe the subject of The Art of the Erotic, a Phaidon Editors book for which Pelling wrote the introduction. The Art of the Erotic examines the phenomenon of erotic art through a timeless prism, providing us with insights into human sexuality throughout the ages.

With over 1,500 titles in print, Phaidon is the leading global publisher of the creative arts headquartered in London and New York City. They collaborate with the globe’s most influential artists, writers and thinkers who help Phaidon produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel.

The Art of the Erotic Bookshot
The Art of the Erotic Bookshot

The Art of the Erotic

The sexual desire of one human being for another is probably the most basic, universal and consistent instinct of our society. From ancient to the present times, artists have tirelessly sought to represent and invoke erotic impulses via their artworks and Phaidon will be attempting to put this fact into its true perspective.

Published in October 2017, The Art of the Erotic is a chronological publication which confirms human sexuality and art have always gone hand in hand with each other. The book covers more than 2500 years of human history, starting with hand-painted Athenian cups and mosaics from Pompeii, and going two and a half millenniums ahead to recent works by Wolfgang Tillmans and Anish Kapoor, covering everything in between.

Thomas Ruff - Nudes ru 05 (Nud 053), 2000 / Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe – Torso, 1918
Left: Thomas Ruff – Nudes ru 05 (Nud 053), 2000, chromogenic color print with Diasec, 152 × 112 cm (59 ⅞ × 44 in), private collection. Picture credit © Thomas Ruff (page 166) / Right: Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe – Torso, 1918, palladium print, 23.2 × 19.2 cm (9 ⅛ × 7 9⁄16 in), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Picture credit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (page 103)

The Book’s Range

The Art of the Erotic is a fantastic survey of erotic art that shows how this genre evolved over the course of centuries. The carefully curated book features 170 artworks made by the world’s most important artists including the likes of Titian, Botticelli, Joan Miró, Georgia O’Keeffe, Man Ray, Jackson Pollock, Max Ernst, Francis Picabia, Henri Toulouse Lautrec, Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.

Besides zeroing-in on erotic paintings and photos, The Art of the Erotic does not forget to pay homage to sculptures as the editors prepared reproductions of pieces by Auguste Rodin and Louise Bourgeois.

The comprehensive selection also features installation art by Bruce Nauman, happenings by Carolee Schneemann and video art made by Francis Alÿs and Pipilotti Rist.

The Art of the Erotic Bookshot
The Art of the Erotic Bookshot

Publishing Mastery of Phaideon Editors

The artworks in The Art of the Erotic assert a deliberate attempt by their creators to capture eroticism in its most glorious form. Expertly assorted and selected by Phaidon editors, each work is described and interpreted within the context of the social and artistic norms of its time.

Ultimately, the pieces that found their way into the pages of The Art of the Erotic reveal the never ending bond between the visual arts and eroticism, a relationship that’s responsible for outputting some of the most scandalous and enticing artworks of all time.

Editors’ Tip: The Art of the Erotic This carefully curated and beautifully packaged book spotlights nearly 200 works from the world’s most important artists, including Titian, Paul Cézanne, Picasso, Andy Warhol, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Edgar Degas, Edvard Munch, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Lucian Freud, Louise Bourgeois, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, Cecily Brown, Anselm Kiefer, George Condo and Anish Kapoor. With its chronological organization, The Art of the Erotic provides insights into human sexuality throughout the ages.

Featured image: Pierre Commoy, Gilles Blanchard – Oreste (Staiv Gentis), 2013, photograph ink-jet printed on canvas and painted, 114 × 146 cm (44 ⅞ × 57 ½ in), private collection. Picture credit: courtesy of Pierre et Gilles (page 186). All images courtesy of Phaidon.