Gentlemen's Club - Sleeping Venus

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Gentlemen’s Club
Courtesans and Seductresses Depicted in Art
Curated by Gabbi Fenaroli

Giorgione, Sleeping Venus, 1510
“Sick-thoughted Venus makes amain unto him,
And like a bold-fac'd suitor 'gins to woo him.”
- William Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis

The oldest profession in the world empowers and disadvantages women. In society they are pariahs, the object of feminine jealousy and disgust. Courtesans and seductresses leave men and woman at a loss for words, as they use their bodies as means to manipulate men in the bedroom and viewers in art. They capture the eyes of anyone that walks by. The beauty of each painting lies in its simplicity, the subtleness that comes with being a courtesan. The secrets they each hold on their clientele.

Men are drawn to women they cannot posses. Venus remains unobtainable because of her ranks as a goddess. The painting Sleeping Venus by Giorgione underlines the fact Venus, although a fantasy to many men, will never be available to humans. The painting's rich colors revel us in heavenly light. Venus sleeps elegantly while stretched out on a bed on luxurious fabrics. Her body is effortlessly poised while she lies stark naked. Venus reclines alone, as though to say no one is deserving of her company. The only civilization remains in the background forever separated from Venus and her glory.

Her body twists and turns with her voluptuous curves. She glows with signs of fertility. Venus represents the mother of the Roman people, someone held in great acclaim. Although she does take male lovers, she only sleeps with them for a period and returns later to give them a child. Unlike Olympia, there are rules to sleeping with Venus. Sleeping with her results in procreation and responsibility. Venus draws men in with her maternal body and sultry actions. She does not need to stare at the viewer to capture their attention. Her body language and confidence stops viewers in their tracks. Venus offers sex and pleasure, yet her offers come at the cost of commitment.

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