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The Art of the Erotic
Thomas Ruff, “Nudes ru 05 (Nud 053)”, 2000, chromogenic colour print with Diasec, 152 × 112 cm (59 ⅞ × 44 in), private collectionPicture credit: © Thomas Ruff

The ultimate compendium of erotic artworks is finally here

See over 2,500 years of erotic artworks, from sexy handpainted cups from 470 BC to Botticelli, Nobuyoshi Araki, Mickalene Thomas and Georgia O’Keeffe

Sex is the oldest of human behaviours – and for as long as we’ve had the tools to do so, we’ve documented our experiences of having it, or at least of wanting to have it. A new book archives this, with over 2,500 years of erotic artworks included in The Art of the Erotic by Phaidon Editors. From a hand-painted Athenian cup from 470 BC and mosaics from Pompeii to Botticelli, Picasso, and more recent works by Wolfgang Tillmans and Anish Kapoor.

Over 170 works are featured in the tome, each described and interpreted by Phaidon’s editors in terms of their place and meaning within the art history canon. And while they say you should never judge a book by its cover, The Art of the Erotic is an exception, with a cover inspired by Lucio Fontana’s painting series, Concetto Spaziale, whereby the artist would puncture the canvas to leave a slit, often several on the one work. 

Overall, The Art of the Erotic by Phaidon Editors is an incredible insight into human sexuality over time and one to definitely keep under the covers.

Available now from Phaidon