Medieval erotica and Icon of Erotic Art #46

Medieval erotica

Hell detail from Giotto's Last Judgement

Hell detail from Giotto‘s Last Judgement

As Peter Webb notes in his excellent The Erotic Arts, eroticism is rare in the art of the Early Christian period and the Middle Ages. Pagan monuments were often overtly sexual, but Christian art shunned the world of physical love. Christianity was a non-sexual religion (Virgin birth of Jesus, Saint Paul advocating clerical celibacy).

Gargoyle mooning another building, Frieburg, GER, photographed by macg.stiegler on 4/9/2004, image sourced here. (via Gargoyle )

Mooning gargoyle, Frieburg, GER, photographed by macg.stiegler on 4/9/2004.

It was an era of sexual repression, but there are exceptions of course. There were elegiac comedies such as Lidia, erotic folklore such as the fabliaux, seductive enchantresses such as the Morgan le Fay, succubi and incubi, sexual church gargoyle ornamentations and Sheela na Gigs and sexual misericords.

The Christian repression of sexuality led to the depiction of erotic horrors in various frescos such as Giotto‘s Last Judgement.

See also medieval, history of erotica, Christianity and sexual morality, Sexuality in Christian demonology and De Daemonialitate et Incubis et Succubis.

The mooning gargoyle of Frieberg is Icon of Erotic Art #46.

7 thoughts on “Medieval erotica and Icon of Erotic Art #46

  1. Paul Rumsey

    I think that some of his work is medieval and some is early Renaissance, in fact one of his pictures was started in the medieval period and finished in the early Renaissance.
    Something must have changed because “I’m gonna get early Renaissance on your ass” just hasn’t got the same ring to it….

  2. Paul Rumsey

    …. it’s nice to imagine the day that things changed …people wandering about stooped and scowling, covered in dirt, in a sort of twilight, and then the sun comes out and they are suddenly filled with a new optimism, they all stand up straight and start behaving towards each other in a civilized and courteous manner. 🙂

  3. jahsonic

    … Yes, but deep down they are still animals who — if uninhibited would go about like dogs — sniffing each other’s behinds … plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

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