They were talking about pornography on TV last night- about how it has transformed society in the last few decades. Martin Amis- a person I instinctively dislike- said we no longer know the difference between pornography and eroticism. Well, I don't think we ever did. I certainly never did- and still don't. A naked bod is a naked bod is a naked bod. When I was a kid I got turned on by old master paintings because they were the only images of flesh that were freely available. And lets not pretend that Titian or Ingres or any of those guys painted their nudes in a spirit of chaste high-mindedness. No, they did it because it sold or because lascivious Medici cardinals had commissioned them to do it or because it gave them a hard on. The only difference between a Venus by Titian and the centrefold in a top shelf magazine is that the Titian is very well made.
Also- one might add- that the Titian is worth a hell of a lot of money and the centrefold is so much discardable wastepaper. One of the things that's going on here is that the rich and educated are gilding their vices.
Renoir once told Modigliani that he painted with his prick- and Modigliani- the younger man but also a painter of porny nudes- was terribly, terribly shocked. The old man had let the cat out of the bag. Shame on him.
Incidentally Amis has just published a novel which contains- according to an interview I read this morning- "a 200 page sexathon". My jaw drops.