One of the aims of art is to capture the essence of reality and transmit to the spectator the feelings and thoughts that dominate their era and culture. Art goes beyond beautiful landscapes or portraits of frumpy aristocrats; art fearlessly plunges into deep and controversial waters of human passion.
From concepts of nationhood to existential conflicts, art tackles every theme in different ways. Throughout history, a single subject has been reimagined in different ways, but the one that continues to be controversial is eroticism. Whether it is a suggestive, tongue-in-cheek image, or an explicit illustration, eroticism has been subject to censorship and restriction.
French nineteenth century artist Joseph Apoux created a sample of art that illustrates in the most exceptional way the eroticism of a society that was known to be straitlaced. Alphabet Pornographique is not your conventional ABC; instead it teaches the audience suggestive and sometimes explicit sexual positions. Irony and satire abound in this work, as Apoux shows priests, monks, dancers, gentlemen, and uptight social characters cavorting in the loops and lines of the letters.
A bold, captivating and explicit show defies the paradigms and rules of the era. These ABCs teach you more than sex and eroticism; they show the double standards of society.
“An infinity of passion can be contained in one minute, like a crowd in a small space.”
― Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary
“There is no pornography without a secrecy.”
― D.H. Lawrence, Erotic Works
“Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets”
― Andy Warhol
Lady, i will touch you with my mind.
Touch you and touch and touch
until you give
me suddenly a smile, shyly obscene
You are the one
I am lit for.
Come with your rod
and is a serpent.
–“To A Dark Moses” Lucille Clifton
Licence my roving hands, and let them go,
Before, behind, between, above, below.
–“To His Mistress Going to Bed” John Donne
Now that you've reached the last letter of this lascivious alphabet, we're sure you'll appreciate the following sensual art: