Thursday, July 11, 2013
Manet's Olympia and the sexualisation of the foot
The French painter Édouard Manet in 1886 presented a scandalous painting of a reclining nude entitled Olympia. He depicted the shoe as an erogenous zone and this brave metaphor was acknowledged by many art historians as pivotal to the development of modern art. Sexualisation of the foot was also witnessed at the same time with the introduction of censorship where the female foot was excluded from respectable photographic tintypes. While contemporary portrayals showed men with their boots exposed, women's feet were covered by dresses or lap shawls or were mechanically cropped from the plate.