Charles Mengin - Sappho (1877)
Channel 4 in the UK is currently screening a series called The Genius of British Art. Each episode is introduced by a different presenter, and last night was the turn of Howard Jacobson - the very same gentleman who recently won this year's Booker Prize for his novel, The Finkler Question.
John William Waterhouse - Hylas and the Nymphs (1896)
Jacobson has a passion for Victorian art or, to be more precise, the way in which nineteenth century artists depicted their visions of sex and desire, and how such unrepressed and provocative imagery appears to stir more embarrassment today than it ever did when first created.
Etty - Candaules King of Lydia shews his wife to Gyges
We may caricature the Victorians as being prudish, self-righteous and hypocritical, but many of the erotic paintings discussed in the programme prove that they were anything but. Even Queen Victoria commissioned some of Etty's paintings as presents for Prince Albert. And, although some of the artists' works may now be considered as 'cliched', this is surely a repercussion of their very popularity - or dare the VV surmise, 'over exposure'?
Alma Tadema - The Tepidarium
You can watch Jacobson's entertaining analysis of Victorian erotic art here.
Some content is of a sexual nature.