The Image Made Flesh: A Photographic Re-Reading of the Pygmalian Myth
While Plato was describing the imminent dangers of art because of its mimetic remove from the Idea, men were attempting to copulate with the sculpture of the Knidian Aphrodite, so enamored were they of her derrière, ideally depicted and displayed in an open rotunda.1 The Knidian Aphrodite (Figure 1) derived her notoriety not only for being the first depiction of the female nude in Greek art, but for the reaction she elicited from viewers: her derrière is said by Pliny to have borne the seminal stains of her male viewers’ lust,2 testimony both to the success of her mimetic remove and to the dangers that Plato identified are inherent in that success.
KeywordsSexual Pleasure Artistic Creation Realist Painter Female Nudity Rhetorical Tradition
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- 7.Martin Robertson, A Shorter History of Greek Art ( Cambridge: University Press, 1991 ), pp. 140–141.Google Scholar
- 8.Cited in J. J. Pollitt, Art and Experience in Classical Greece ( Cambridge: University Press, 1972 ), p. 157.Google Scholar
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