The Starving Bibliophile

Books before food (and any sort of comfortable life).


“Sensual pleasures have the fleeting brilliance of a comet.” -Ann Landers

Everyone has a unique interpretation of sensuality, but what is it truly? Granted, the dictionary definition says that it’s anything pleasing to the senses, but it’s different for everyone. For some music, for others money, even writing, love, or the naked form. A lot of people even associate it with sex but fail to realize that it’s so much more than that.

Look at this lady in red. Her dress is unzipped and falling off of her shoulders while she casually leans on the balcony. She is facing away from us but her head is looking slightly back, letting us see a glimpse of her face. Rose petals fall around her and we can see most of her leg from the slit in her dress. She’s undeniably gorgeous and hard to not stare at for a while. Now look at this next picture.

This is a painting of a burial – hardly romantic or sensual, right? Wrong. Look at how tightly the man holds his love, not wanting to let her go. The artist, Girodet, often portrayed Romantic themes and those from literature that involved the irrational and the exotic, often portraying them in an erotic manner. In this painting, he paints a scene from Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand’s tragic love story, Atala, or The Loves of Two Savages in the Desert. It tells the story of the Christian maiden Atala, who frees the Indian brave Chactas from his enemies and finds refuge with him in the cave of the religious hermit Father Aubry. Having consecrated herself to God and a life of chastity, Atala takes poison when she fears that she is falling in love with Chactas. After her death, Chactas vows to become a Christian himself.

Now take a look at this picture. Even though there are no people in it, our eyes are drawn to it immensely. The butterflies give us those romantic feelings while the sporadically placed reds intensify them. And what makes it most unique and sensual is the faint background – a tangle of trees along with a full moon and other world night clouds.

I’m not going to get too detailed about how this mauve flower is sensual because I promised myself that I wouldn’t get too sexual in this post. But do note that once you get it you’ll see the true beauty of how it’s sensual. Honestly though, what isn’t sensual about a flower? They can represent so many human emotions. The next time you see a flower of two, think about the sexuality of it.

This picture is of a lady called Mata Hari who was a Dutch exotic dancer, courtesan, and an accused spy who, although possibly innocent, was executed by a firing squad in France for espionage for Germany during World War I. Now, you’re probably thinking “how isn’t an exotic dancer sensual??” but that’s the thing: that’s exactly why she’s sensual. Just look at her – she literally has elegance and sensuality pouring off of her body. Even if you didn’t know that she was an exotic dancer before I told you, you’d still look at her beauty in wonder.

Just like the explosion and flower, this painting is not obviously sensual.  But the soft colors boldly interrupted by the red give it a sensual feel. There’s not a lot to say about this picture – the girl is obviously Asian and the picture is obviously portraying winter. Again, like the first picture, she is not looking directly at you but rather to the side.

Lips. There are so many things that they can do. They can kiss, talk, make different shapes, and smile. Just full lips by themselves are sensual and seductive. And what help this is the vibrant red lipstick and the red flowers in the background with a satiny look to them.

It helps to know the story behind this one. Leda and the Swan is a motif from Greek mythology, in which Zeus came to Leda in the form of a swan. As the story goes, Zeus seduced Leda on the same night she slept with her husband, King Tyndareus. Later she bore four children, two from Zeus and two from her husband. There is little to no doubt that this painting is completely sensual once you know the story. Or you could have thought that when you first glimpsed at  the woman’s exposed bosom. Whatever it may be, it proves that no two people seeing sensuality the exact same way.


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This entry was posted on September 8, 2010 by in Other, Photography.
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