Even in the Western world, which seems completely accustomed to the widespread appearance of risqué images, an erotic painting from five hundred years ago can still manage to create a sensation. This book, the sixteenth title in the popular Guide to Imagery series, is a delightful romp through the portrayal of love and sexuality in art—age-old subjects depicted in all cultures. The volume surveys Western artworks more or less explicitly illustrating delicate or amorous subjects. The gamut of possibilities is vast, ranging from chaste tenderness to overwhelming frenzies of the senses, from Classical allusion to sexual fantasy.
A series of general themes is presented, with a detailed reading of the significance and symbolic content of the individual works illustrating each theme. In the paintings of the past, the reader will encounter gestures, objects, places, and situations that seem familiar and that offer the traditional setting of "love scenes" from every epoch. The volume closes with a chapter highlighting some of the most famous couples of all time.