Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, March 11 2013:
"...Europe's great artists were making pornography long before the invention of the camera, let alone the internet. In my new book The Loves of the Artists, I argue that sexual gratification – of both the viewers of art, and artists themselves – was a fundamental drive of high European culture in the age of the old masters. Paintings were used as sexual stimuli, as visual lovers' guides, as aids to fantasy. This was considered one of the most serious uses of art by no less a thinker than Leonardo da Vinci, who claimed images are better than words because pictures can directly arouse the senses. He was proud that he once painted a Madonna so sexy the owner asked for all its religious trappings to be removed, out of shame for the inappropriate lust it inspired. His painting of St John the Baptist is similarly ambiguous.
This was not a new attitude to art in the Renaissance. As the upcoming exhibition of ancient Pompeii at the British Museum will doubtless show, the ancient Romans also delighted in pornography. Some pornographic paintings now kept in the famous "Secret Museum" of ancient erotica in Naples came from Pompeii's brothel's – which makes their function very clear. In the Renaissance, which revered everything classical, ancient Roman sexual imagery was well known to collectors and artists. A notorious classical erotic statue owned by the plutocrat Agostino Chigi caused the 16th-century writer Pietro Aretino to remark, "why should the eyes be denied what delights them most?"..."
(bronze 'dancing girl' from Mohenjo-daro in Sind, Pakistan c 2000 BC)
Are some of Khajuraho sculptures pornography in stone? I don't know. But I sure was turned on watching them in early 1990's.
The late R D Karve would have been delighted to learn that the Guardian, one of the leading and probably the most respected newspaper in the world, has announced the launch of Porn Studies – the world's first peer-reviewed academic journal on the subject- next year. He might have even contributed to the journal.
On the subject of porn, I have hardly seen any discussion in Marathi media that is NOT moralistic. For them porn is like liquor, cigarettes, pan-masala, rape, corruption etc.
The Guardian has a section "Pornography" under "Culture"!
Carole Cadwalladr writes in the Guardian:
"According to some estimates, 30% of all internet bandwidth is used to transfer porn. Each month, porn sites get more visitors than Amazon, Twitter and Netflix combined. And yet, says (Feona) Attwood, in her own field, cultural studies, it's been mostly ignored. "Television, film, magazines have been studied from all sorts of angles. Something like the BBC has been investigated to death by historians, by people who analyse labour conditions, everything from accountancy to filming, but there's never been anything like that for porn."..."
Porn, even in India, deserves more serious attention.
Artist: J B Handelsman, The New Yorker, April 14 2003
Artist: Unknown, Spectator