The art world has seen plenty of blatant depictions of genitals, but never quite like this all together. The very popular Cet obscur objet de désir, autour de l’Origine du Monde exhibit going on now at the Courbet Museum in Ornans, France offers a formidable collection of established masterpieces.
Guy Cogeval, the president of the d’Orsay and Orangerie museums, spoke fondly of his favorite — Courbet’s Origin Of The World painting featuring the bushy genitalia and nippled underboob of an anonymous woman, possibly commissioned by the artwork’s first owner, vag enthusiast and Turkish-Egyptian diplomat Khalil-Bey (1831-1879), via ArtNet:
Its richness and strength have to be underlined, beyond the provocation, beyond the embarrassment it can cause. The realism of the line and the framing of the object show not only Courbet’s genius, but, more important, his will to break free from the way things were done in his time and century. His representation of the female genitals, in all their crude, naked truth, aspires to reach the source of desire.
Oh yes, those “crude” female genitals. We’re just so lucky there’s a man like Courbet who understands them. Others “sources of desire” in the exhibit, sometimes flourishing with a bit of leg and a touch of torso, also celebrate that fated moment when explicit taboos were liberated by seasonally libertine tastes of European art patrons. ArtNet raves:
While known masterpieces abound—Rodin’s Iris (1895), Ingres’ Jupiter and Antiope (1851)—the show showcases many lesser-known gems. There is René Magritte’s fake Origin du Monde, Odilon Redon’s demure seashell, and an unexpected little work on paper by Courbet himself, showing the entrance of a mysterious cavern.
There’s also apparently a Louise Bourgeois, and Louise Bourgeois rules. Pussy power! (Images via ArtNet)