Modern art, or Modernism, which emerged and developed at the start of the 20th century, was a response to the urbanization that followed the industrial revolution. While seen as both an art and philosophical movement at the time of its emergence, it confronted the traditional concepts associated with realism.
As well as examining and contemplating a variety of different styles and techniques within this movement, we will focus on this course on the challenges facing what can be described as erotic art. Can erotic art be defined? Some of the most famous fine art paintings depict sexual themes. Correggio’s Leda and the Swan (1531-2), which depicts the story of the seduction of Leda by Zeus, is one example. Are these works, necessarily, a kind of erotic art? And how about our aesthetic experiences? Is erotic experience or art a kind of aesthetic experience? Is there a meaningful and helpful distinction between the nude and the naked? We will also consider one of the big challenges facing erotic art and how it may want to distinguish and dissociate itself from pornography. One of the reasons may be because pornography is often considered harmful and exploitative. Some of us may disagree.
The course will provide an overview of current philosophical debates on erotic art, encouraging the participants to engage in an ethical discussion about the way and extent in which erotic art may be comparatively less vulnerable to moral criticism of this sort.