There are few things more beautiful on this planet than the human form. Ever since humans have been able to make art, they have been drawing erotic images. Art galleries around the world are absolutely packed to the brim with erotic artwork.
We have decided to go through hundreds and hundreds of pieces to come up with a list of famous erotic artwork. These pieces of art may be ones that you recognize or, at the very least, come from artists that you recognize. Let’s look, shall we?
What follows are twenty of what we believe is the best erotic artwork out there. Remember, a list of the best erotic artworks is a subjective list. Art is subjective. However, we are sure that you will enjoy many of the pieces that we discuss on this page. Think of this as a quick lesson in erotic art history.
Francisco de Goya’s ‘The Nude Maja’
The Nude Maja was painted in 1797 in Spain. What many people do not realize is that there is a second painting in this ‘collection’. Francisco de Goya also produced a clothed Maja.
We do not know who the model was in this image, neither is it likely that we will ever know. The Majas were the poorer folk in Madrid, and very few records were kept about them. However, what we do know is that this is a piece of artwork that has gone down in art history.
Up until this painting was produced, nearly every single piece of art that showed off a female’s pubic hair did so in a negative way. This one bucked that trend and created an image that doesn’t focus on the pubic hair at all. It is just part of the woman.
Katsushika Hokusai’s ‘The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife’
Well, this piece of artwork produced at some point in the 19th Century in Japan certainly plays into some people’s kinks.
This image is actually part of a collection of images. All of them are based around the same subject; women and fish. Well, women and the ocean.
This artwork is actually the most famous of the collection, perhaps because it is a lot more unique than some of the other paintings there. Actually, by unique, we mean incredibly weird. It involves a nude woman in sexual liaisons with a couple of octopuses.
As we said, this is an image that likely plays into a few people’s kinks. You may be surprised to know that this was pretty much the first-ever image produced in a long line of tentacle porn.
Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’
We have another piece of art produced in Spain here. Turns out the Spanish were quite kinky a few centuries ago. This image was painted over the course of twenty years, starting in 1490.
This is an especially beautiful piece of artwork. However, somewhat interestingly, we do not actually know why Bosch painted it. In fact, this guy is pretty much an unknown. Nobody knows about his personal history that could have resulted in him painting this work.
This is part of a set of three paintings that are meant to depict a story, although what that story is, nobody will be able to tell you. The Garden of Earthly Delights is the middle painting. This features a couple of dozen nude people socializing in a beautiful garden. The attention to detail in this painting is absolutely superb.
Paul Cezanne’s ‘Seven Bathers’
This painting was produced in the 1900s. It is an oil painting, a rather basic one at that, of seven men bathing around a pool.
Interestingly, the Seven Bathers painting is part of a collection of Bathers paintings from Paul Cezanne. This is one of the first ones that he produced, which is probably why it is one of the more well-known images. However, he produced around half a dozen Bathers paintings over the years.
All of them had exactly the same title and the overall theme. However, he did play about with the people that were featured in the images. For example, some have women, some have men and women, etc.
There are some that claim that the Bathers collection from Paul Cezanne was the painting that managed to start the modern erotic art scene.
Titian’s ‘Venus of Urbino’
Remember what we said earlier about how when pubic hair was shown it was always in a negative light? Well, Titian’s Venus of Urbino, which was painted in 1534 is an example of this.
This painting, supposedly, depicts the Goddess Venus. She is the Goddess of beauty, love, etc. She is laying down on a couch. If you look at the image, you will notice that the vagina is covered up. This is to ensure that the pubic hair is not shown. If the pubic hair was shown, then it would have been offensive towards Venus.
This is an incredibly popular painting, even if you have never seen the painting yourself. This is because the pose has influenced all manner of other paintings and sculptures.
Gustav Klimt’s ‘Frau bei der Selbstbefriedigung’
We are going to be honest with you here; this isn’t really a piece of art that is on the level of the other artwork on this page, at least from a technical standpoint. Painted in 1916, this piece of erotic art is nothing more than a line drawing that has been spruced up a little bit.
Despite that, this is a very popular piece of erotic art that has influenced modern art. You see, this is a drawing of a woman that is masturbating. It is quite graphic in nature. All of the other pieces of art that we have discussed so far focus purely on the beauty of the body, while this is very pornographic.
Peter Paul Ruben’s Copy of Michelangelo’s ‘Leda and the Swan’
Back in 1830, Michelangelo painted an image of a naked woman intertwined with a swan. We won’t get too much into the history of that painting. It had a lot to do with Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and then him promising somebody a piece of art. Michelangelo then produced Leda and the Swan.
The thing is that the original Michelangelo copy has been lost to time. It was probably destroyed at some point. However, Michelangelo was popular enough at the time that there were a lot of people that were more than happy to copy his original art. Peter Paul Ruben was one of these people. In fact, his painting is pretty much how we know that the original Leda and the Swan exists.
We will never know just how close it was to the original artwork. However, since Peter Paul Ruben had a couple of attempts at it, we are sure that it was pretty close.
Miyagawa Issho’s ‘Spring Pastimes’
Spring Pastimes is another collection of Japanese artwork, just like the Fisherman’s Wife that we discussed early. However, this one is a bit more conventional. Not all of the artwork is erotic. However, there are a couple of pieces in the collection that have a couple kissing or in a partial state of nudity. This isn’t the type of image that is meant to get you aroused. It is meant to show you the day-to-day life of people.
It is likely that Issho produced more erotic artwork than what was included in the Spring Pastimes collection. However, after a client stiffed him on a bill, he murdered him. This resulted in a lot of Issho’s artwork disappearing over time.
Edouard Manet’s ‘Olympia’
We have yet another piece of erotic artwork that follows that typical woman laying down on a bed pose. This one features Olympia, This painting was painted in 1863, and it caused quite a stir at the time.
This is because, while Edouard Manet didn’t say so, it is heavily implied that the woman that is featured in the painting is a prostitute. This was bad enough. However, what really irked people, at least in the modern age, is that she is being attended by a black maid.
At this time, slavery had just been abolished in France (where the painting was created), but there are some that see the image as being racist and a slight on black people. However, this does seem to be more modern speculation as opposed to anything else.
Pablo Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon)’
As you probably know, Pablo Picasso is a guy that is seen as pretty much the founder of the modern art movement known as cubism. His paintings are not realistic, but we won’t go into that here. You can study art if you want to know more about that.
This painting was created in 1907 and it caused a huge stir at the time. For starters, it is a painting that is meant to show a few prostitutes socializing. The prostitutes were also wearing ethnic masks to hide their facial features.
Tons and tons of works have been written about this image, and some top painters at the time are said to have loathed it. It certainly is going to go down in history as one of the most famous pieces of erotic art.
Egon Schiele’s ‘Friendship’
Egon Schiele is an artist that is known for creating beautiful works of art that are meant to show the love between two people. This piece of art is perhaps his best-known one. As the name suggests, this painting is meant to depict friendship rather than actual romantic feelings.
This painting features a man and a woman in a naked embrace with one another, just holding each other. One of the reasons why this piece is more famous than some of the other artwork created by Egon Schiele is down to the fact that it is seen as a blend of all of the art styles that he produced over the years, which makes it one of the more unique pieces that he produced.
Diego Velazquez’s ‘Rokeby Venus’
This image is also known as the ‘Toilet of Venus’, although we honestly do not know why. It does not feature a toilet. Instead, it features a nude woman with her back turned looking into a mirror held up by Cupid. This woman is said to be Venus, hence the name. It was painted in the 1600s.
The reason why this painting is so popular is due to the history around it. At the time, Diego Velazquez was well known for producing erotic nude images. However, this is the only female nude that he produced that still exists. This is because the Spanish Inquisition destroyed a lot of them, and they stopped him from producing more female nudes.
Gustave Courbet’s ‘L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World)’
This image is a little bit different to the others. By the time that this painting was produced, it was clear that the idea of only depicting pubic hair on prostitutes was long gone.
This painting is a close-up of a female’s genitals. The woman has an epic bush too but, let’s be honest, it was the 1800s. Nearly everybody probably had an epic bush back then. The reason why this image is so famous is that it tries to showcase the realism of nudity at a time when other artists were not being so realistic with their images, and certainly nowhere near as graphic.
Antonio Canova – Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss
This is a sculpture produced in the 1700s. It depicts Cupid in a kiss with Psyche shortly after she has woken her up (this is one of the stories about Cupid). This was one of the first sculptures to be produced in a period of Romanticism, which meant that artwork was starting to veer toward being more erotic in nature. This piece of art currently sites in the Louvre.
Correggio – Jupiter and Io
Jupiter and Io is a painting from Correggio. It was produced in 1530. Correggio actually produced multiple paintings featuring Jupiter. In this one, he is with Io, whose back is turned. He is embraced with her. It is meant to show Jupiter changing his form, something that he was said to have done in stories in order to get away with seducing multiple women.
Salvador Dali – The Great Masturbator
Salvador Dali’s surrealism art does mean that you have to use your imagination to know that this woman is masturbating outside of the title of the image. It certainly does feature a woman that looks like she is in the midst of masturbation, at least from her facial features. There is also an outline of a man involved which does suggest that she is giving head.
This isn’t actually a piece of artwork that Salvador Dali sold. It was his private painting. He did give it away in his will when he died, though. This is how we know about it. This piece of art is a testament to how art can showcase the emotions a person feels. For example, Salvador Dali was known to have confused feelings toward sex due to experiences he had when he was younger, and these feelings are said to come out in this painting.
Relief on one of the Khajuraho Group of Temples in Madhya Pradesh
These temples, located in India, were built in 885 AD over the course of a couple of hundred years. This makes them among the earliest pieces of artwork on this list. There are various reliefs scattered around the temple that showcase erotic images from the time.
Unknown: Pan Copulating with Goat
This sculpture was produced before 79 AD in Pompeii (that place wiped out by the volcano), nobody really knows why it was produced. We certainly will never know the artists.
This is a sculpture that shows a horned man having full-on sex with a goat. You see the penetration and everything. It certainly is a tremendous sculpture by whoever produced it, although it probably isn’t going to be most people’s tastes.
Egon Schiele: Woman with Black Stockings
We have another Egon Schiele painting for you here. This one features a woman clothed, in black stockings (hence the name), with her vagina on show. She is potentially masturbating, but it is tough to tell, It is said that this painting is based upon a woman that Egon Schiele had a romantic relationship.
David of Michelangelo
And we are going to wrap up with probably the most famous erotic art on this list. This one was produced by Michelangelo and it is purely a man standing completely naked. It is well over 5-meters high.
This sculpture has quite a history and, for a long time, it wasn’t really a way for a Church to use up a piece of old marble that they couldn’t really do anything with. It is now one of the most famous pieces of erotic artworks in the world. You can find it in Florence, Italy., although it has many different homes over the centuries.