The pleasures of the flesh have been celebrated in erotic art for millennia, in many imaginative and unique ways. In some paintings the meanings are subtle and implied, but others are far more explicit, here are some of the best classical paintings with a fetish theme, and some of the kinkiest scenes in classic art.



Take a look at the kinkiest scenes in classic art:


Jean-Honoré Fragonard The Swing 1767


the five kinkiest scenes in classic artPresenting a heady combination of foot and upskirt fetishes is The Swing, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard. It is also known as The Happy Accidents of the Swing, which kind of says it all. The painting was completed in 1767 as a commission for Baron de St. Julien, a French libertine; who was in the throes of a passionate affair with a married woman. On the swing is his lover and behind her in the shadows is her husband. In front, gazing into the folds of her dress, is the Baron himself. He specifically requested that he be placed “...in a position where I can observe the legs of that charming girl. "  His hand reaching out to her casually open legs is a playful and flirtatious move. The sheer pleasure on her face. The kicked off shoe slowly falling towards her lover; emphasises the kinky bond between the two of them and one of the kinkiest scenes in classic art.



Peter Paul Rubens* after Michelangelo Leda and the Swan 1601


leda-and-the-swanHaving sex with a swan may seem a bit extreme, even to the most sadomasochistic zoo girl. It’s worth remembering that in ancient times the gods were often thought to walk the earth in animal form. That meant if a swan, goat or horse seemed to be giving you the eye, it wasn’t you being a pervert; it was divine intervention. Leda is thought to be Helen of Troy’s mother. In this myth, she is visited by Zeus in the form of a swan. Ironically, artists at this time often chose to show erotically charged scenes between women and animals because they were not allowed to depict two humans having sex.



*This is a copy of Michelangelo’s original because many of his works are now lost.

Katsushika Hokusai The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife 1814


the-dream-of-the-fisherman-wifeThe origins of tentacle porn can probably be traced back to this brazen depiction of an ama* diver experiencing octopus oral. While one goes down on her, the other caresses her naked body with its tentacles. They kiss. Her closed eyes and thrown back head show exactly how much fun she’s having. Underneath, her body is supported by them as one of her nipples is being softly toyed with. BDSM involving animal play is pretty common. By illustrating a lone pearl diver being sexually gratified by two huge beasts, The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife takes it to a new level, as another one of the kinkiest scenes in classic art.



*Ama divers were women who worked in the sea free-diving for pearls. They swam almost naked, usually just wearing a small cloth on their lower half. The practice had been going on for a couple of thousand years before their lifestyle started to make an appearance in erotic art. They generally appeared as unattainable to men, because they were more aroused by their encounters in the sea.

Hieronymus Bosch The Garden of Earthly Delights 1503


Think of a random S&M practice and it’s likely you’ll find it nestled amongst the mass orgy of erotic art that is The Garden of Earthly Delights. Men, women, animals, fish, mermaids and many other strange entities take part in an eye-popping parade of sinful activity and sensual lust. There are also depictions of torture, as a knight in full armour appears to be gnawed on by rats. There is a bird-like creature which eats humans alive then excretes them into a dark hole below. Bosch was interested in religion, creationism and our eventual decent into hell. Judging by the acres of flesh on show, he’d decided that lust played a major part in that journey.



Egon Scheile Woman with Black Stockings 1913


woman-with-black-stockingsIf you’ve ever lusted after someone in black stockings during a bondage scene, or enjoyed being lusted after whilst wearing them, you’ll appreciate the aesthetic power of Egon Schiele’s Woman with Black Stockings. The woman is his lover, Valerie Neuzil, who had a pretty tempestuous relationship with the artist. She stood by him throughout numerous re-locations around Europe. Including a charge of seducing a minor which nearly landed him in prison. And another charge of displaying erotic art where minors could see it, which did land him a month inside. The final straw came when Schiele announced he was going to marry a locksmith’s daughter Edith Harms, for her money. To Schiele's amazement Neuzil left, and despite him sending her regular begging letters, she never came back.


In this proud and voluptuous image, Neuzil faces us with her legs apart revealing her pink vagina and fleshy thighs. The effect of her black stockings is enhanced by a raised pure white cotton petticoat and contrasting bright red garters. The pose is erotic enough on its own, but Neuzil’s confidence and knowing sideways glance make this one of the kinkiest scenes in classic art.



Images by Irina and Playing Futures via Flickr with CC BY 2.0 licence

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