One of the most unabashedly erotic images to ever grace the pages of an art history book came from the woodblock of iconic Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. Widely known for his G-rated, Edo-era prints like " The Great Wave at Kanagawa ," the celebrated ukiyo-e painter and printmaker famously depicted a titillating love scene between a few octupi and a satisfied-looking human being. The masterpiece swiftly and simultaneously brought full frontal nudity, bestiality, and female orgasm to the forefront of fine art. The untitled illustration is but one of many sexualized paintings and tantalizing prints produced during the 17th century and beyond. Known as shunga, the genre was comprised of elaborate -- and highly erotic -- artworks that were banned from Japanese institutions for a significant portion of the 20th century. Thankfully, an upcoming exhibit titled " Shunga: Sex and Pleasure in Japanese Art " is giving artists of the ukiyo-e genre their well-deserved spotlight.
Images of a sexual nature by Kitagawa Utamaro and other Japanese artists
10 Masterpieces of Japanese Erotica That May Complicate Your Sex Life | Art for Sale | Artspace
By Artspace Editors. In the Western tradition, the idealized nude and—more explicitly—sex have long been sticking points in artistic discourse across generations—controversial for their beauty on the one hand, and its supposedly sinful nature on the other. In stark contrast, Japanese erotica in paintings and prints have held a ubiquitous position in society, starting with the Heian aristocracy of the ninth century and trickling down to a rising, modern urban middle class. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs. Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions.
The joy of art: why Japan embraced sex with a passion
Most shunga are a type of ukiyo-e , usually executed in woodblock print format. While rare, there are extant erotic painted handscrolls which predate ukiyo-e. Following the aesthetics of everyday life, Edo-period shunga varied widely in its depictions of sexuality.
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