What is it that I search for in a good erotic piece? It is hard to say. Certainly my own biases and preferences determine what I like, as opposed to what others like. As in all critical judgement of art, there is really no right or wrong, no absolute standard to determine what is good, and what is not good. In the end it is all subjective. This is probably even more true when discerning erotic art.

What appeals to me are things that are alluring and evocative. I search for the spirituality of sex, the mystery of eroticism. What I use as my standards of artistic perfection are the old masters, especially those of the Renaissance. Leonardo in particular was able to capture a certain, unique kind of evocativeness in his paintings. His women are eternally mysterious. Botticelli also paints evocative, alluring women.  And these are only two among many artists. A good erotic piece of art, whether in painting or photography, should possess something of that mysterious. I feel it needs to express the deeper, more transcendent qualities of sexuality, rather than simply be an image for lustful titillation. Certainly lust can be aroused; but for me there needs to be something more, in order for me to think it has some artistic merit.

The photo posted above seems to have something of that allure, that mysteriousness of sexuality. The soft lighting, the shadows, the gentle poses, the delicate hair of the two women wistfully dangling about their lovely bodies, is not only quite artistic, but quite sensual as well. In particular, the play between light and shadow, something that the Italian Renaissance masters were quite skilled at (know as chiaroscuro), and none more so than Leonardo, bathes this photo in a erotic evocativeness that is quite beautiful.

Leonardo's Virgin of the Rocks (later version). A good example of chiaroscuro of which he was the supreme master.

I wrote a post earlier on Leonardo’s portraits: https://theracerx.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/leonardo-da-vincis-sense-of-feminine-beauty/  He is one of those artists who was so good, that his style is immediately recognizable, and inimitable. He had many followers, but no one could ever quite match his atmosphere. His works have always been among my favorites: hauntingly beautiful, spiritual, and eternally evocative. What Leonardo’s own approach was to religion and spirituality is hard to say, he was certainly far from being a devout man religiously, yet he was able to capture in his paintings a profound sense of spiritual wonder and mystery as few others have.

One of my favorite Leonardo drawings. Mysterious and alluring, evocative, yet still beautiful. Leonardo enjoyed depicting the delicacy of hair, as in the photo above.

So if there is some reference point for me in my taste for erotic art, it would begin with these old masters. Leonardo in particular, although not necessarily associated with erotic art, nevertheless captures a certain type of mysterious beauty that for me, when hinted at by later artists in their own erotic works, is quite powerful. These old masters are not the only vantage point from which I view erotica, but they are an important one.

The Angel from the Virgin of the Rocks above. Again, a nice play of light and shadow, as well as Leonardo's love of delicate hair. I always found this quite beautiful as well.

But, since I like to keep my posts a certain manageable length, I will say more on this in my next post.