the vagina in art history

imgres-2 ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’ by Jamie McCartney ‘ – Changing female body image through art

Last week I posted an image of Courbet’s racy painting, L’Origine du Monde (1866) to accompany the Hairorama short film.  A couple of you said the image was a little too graphic and an unexpected phone pop up as making dinner for the kids.  Point taken, however I thought then that I should give you a little background information on this piece of art.

Clearly still revolutionary for its open and frank depiction of the female form, it caused controversy when it was first released in 1886. and by the very nature of its realistic, graphic nudity, the painting still has the power to shock and triggers censorship today.

Social media giant Facebook  was  taken to court by a French user whose account was closed down after he posted an image of this painting. The video clip I showed last week included this image and was broadcast on TV Chanenel Arte.   Lots of social media sites including Facebook have a strict no-nudity policy, one which is currently hotly contested by the likes of Lena Dunham and Miley Cyrus with the hashtag #Freethenipple.  Instagram recently banned photographs showing pubic hair sticking out of two girls underwear.  So in our society it is ok to bare, but not if its hair !  I don’t know how I feel about this outrage focused on the female body and the vagina when you consider the amount of blatant nudity and pornification that seems to be everywhere we look these days in magazine, films and mass media. Double standards I think.  Lets start our own mini revolution #freethevagina….

In 2014 the Musée d’Orsay, which houses the painting, filed a sexual exhibitionism complaint against performance artist Deborah de Robertis after she sat down in front of the iconic artwork, and recreated it in the flesh.


I wrote this post yesterday and was saving it for later, but today one of my lovely followers, Graham posted a muppet version of L’Origine:


If any of you want to see more vulva in art history, take a look at this Time Magazine piece.  Its art not porn.

I’ve only had 5 votes so far on my pubic hair referendum – all REMAIN – does that mean everyone of you is over 30 ?



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