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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The half-hidden undercurrents in art
It seems that artists ARE all sex-obsessed; why are we not surprised? The most powerful art is driven by the most powerful drives, and some of the art featured in this book would have been considered far too powerful to be reproduced just a few years ago. Lucie-Smith explores the boundaries between repressed eroticism and the downright rude; however, this is definitely...
Published on 18 Jan 2011 by Peasant

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm.....
This book, part of the famous Thames and Hudson series, is full of unfamiliar, and interesting images, some of which are, it has to be said, pornographic. However, they are recognised as art. I was recommended this book as part of my degree course reading, and found it disappointing. Its fatal flaw is being too theorectical. It is full of statements that are very very...
Published on 14 Feb 2001


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The half-hidden undercurrents in art, 18 Jan 2011
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sexuality in Western Art (World of Art) (Paperback)
It seems that artists ARE all sex-obsessed; why are we not surprised? The most powerful art is driven by the most powerful drives, and some of the art featured in this book would have been considered far too powerful to be reproduced just a few years ago. Lucie-Smith explores the boundaries between repressed eroticism and the downright rude; however, this is definitely not a book about the pornographic. The images in the book, no matter how disgusting our grandmothers would have found them, have not in the most part been produced in order to titillate or shock.

Chapter headings like "The all-devouring female" and "Pleasurable pains" make it clear we are in the field of psychology as expressed in art. Many of the images have clearly been produced to exorcise something in the artist, like Picasso's well-known erotic drawings. The problem is that Lucie-Smith attempts too huge a subject for such a modestly sized book. By trying to survey erotic art through the ages, as well as present his various theories, he is able to do neither in sufficient depth. And he gets distracted; in a book on Western Art he doesn't need to tackle Japanese erotic art, which is an entirely different field from an entirely different culture.

This would have been a better book if the author had worked more on it, editing out the diversions and expanding, and tightening, some of the arguments. Having said that, it is a good starting point, and the huge number of unflinching illustrations make it a good survey of the subject. Anyone seriously interested in the subject should probably look for a book written by a psychologist rather than an art critic. Oh, and the most disturbing picture in the book? The apparently innocuous but profoundly unsettling "Calm Sea" by Arnold Bocklin, which just goes to show you don't need to paint people's privates to tap into the unconscious.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm....., 14 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Sexuality in Western Art (World of Art) (Paperback)
This book, part of the famous Thames and Hudson series, is full of unfamiliar, and interesting images, some of which are, it has to be said, pornographic. However, they are recognised as art. I was recommended this book as part of my degree course reading, and found it disappointing. Its fatal flaw is being too theorectical. It is full of statements that are very very questionable, and contains no real evidence or fact. This is not good in a volume that claims to be historical. I read through it and again and again the same doubts sprang into my mind. I just was not convinced by the arguement, and had the feeling the author pulled much from the air. The writing style is far from authoriatative and leaves you wondering if it is all mumbo-jumbo. This, I am still considering: It was a very disappointing book, it appeared to promise strong debate and opinions, but failed to deliver. The many and interesting illustrations, were marred by frequently being of poor quality or being in black and white.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars book, 28 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Sexuality in Western Art (World of Art) (Paperback)
this is quite good book, i am happy to have it in my
personal library, it is in good condition
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars succinct but entertaining, 18 Mar 2010
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B. D. Haas "i love amsterdam" (netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sexuality in Western Art (World of Art) (Paperback)
The book offers an entertaining read; most of the time the information provided is extremely short and rather obvious, but every now and then I was pleasantly surprised.
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Sexuality in Western Art (World of Art)
Sexuality in Western Art (World of Art) by Edward Lucie-Smith (Paperback - 23 Sep 1991)
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