Yesterday, guest writer Lilianne Milgrom published an article for the Huffington Post describing her experience with the 19th century Gustave Courbet painting L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World). The title of the article is “How An Encounter With The World’s Most Famous Vagina Painting Changed My Life.” This “vagina painting” is pornography. Full stop.
Unlike other nude paintings, there are no hands, no figs leaves, and no blurred lines to obscure the image in Courbet’s painting. In fact, there isn’t a face, legs, nor arms in sight. The painting is just a woman’s torso with a full-frontal view of her vagina -- pubic hair and all. The subject’s anonymity is dehumanizing and it emphasizes the work’s erotic nature.
It’s no wonder that the painting was not available for public viewing until 1991. Quite frankly, the work is grotesque, just as a similar painting of a penis would be. In 1994, French police removed copies of the novel Adorations perpétuelles from bookstore windows; the novel used L’Origine du monde as its cover. A similar event occurred in 2009 when Portuguese police confiscated copies of the book Pornocratie from bookstore windows; the book also used Courbet’s painting as a cover. When a French teacher posted the painting on his Facebook in 2011, the site immediately shut down his account for posting pornographic material.
Despite the clear graphic content of the piece, it is on full display at the Musée d’Orsay, one of the largest museums in the world. Since its public debut, the piece has garnered a gross appreciation from the artistic world. There have been several replications of the work, including one in 2002 that was a collection of pictures of vaginas taken from porn magazines framed in a montage. In 2010, British composer Tony Hymas released a musical suite in honor of the painting.
The HuffPost article came from the perspective of a wannabe artist who was given legal rights to copy the painting. The writing was filled with all the lofty, self-aggrandizing rhetoric one would expect from a pretentious modern artist. Milgrome wrote:
Every morning over the next six weeks, I set up my mini studio in the Courbet gallery while a continuous roster of international visitors watched me paint every fold, crevice and pubic hair of the most famous vagina in the world.
In her “quest” to copy the work, she drew the attention of many onlookers. These spectators’ comments ranged from encouraging, to lewd, to indignant:
A young Spanish artist shared a painting of her own genitals, a tribute to what she saw as the ultimate source of joy and pain. A journalist living in Paris claimed that any man who denied that the painting made him want to fuck it would be lying. An American couple thought it inappropriate for public consumption, and a group of young women were turned off by the thick pelt of pubic hair. This baffled me. What did they think their manicured cooches would look like without a monthly waxing?
Milgrome’s bewilderment over the women’s disturbance clearly reflected her own views on the work. Though she later asks the reader if the painting was “sacred or profane? Beautiful or repulsive? Threatening or empowering,” her own opinions bled through with obvious snobbery.
This is the typical crass and juvenile “resistance” we have come to expect from the left. Pro-choicers choose to express their opinions through “pussyhats” and vulgar slogans such as “this pussy grabs back.” Radical feminists paint portraits of President Trump using period blood as protest. Liberal “comedy” reviewers celebrate Amy Schumer for her gross-out vagina humor.
They can’t win by appealing to reason, so they appeal to passion.