Move along , nothing to see here right? Just an elegant lady enjoying a leisurely gondola ride with her elderly female chaperone, a depiction of a proper young woman going about daily life in 16 th-century Venice.
But wait, lets look again 😛 TAGEND
Oh my! A lifted flap discloses a far more scandalous scene; instead of a chaperone, the lady is accompanied by a dashing gentleman who appears to be feeling her up.
This erotic interactive flap volume, currently on view at the New York Public Librarys Stephen A. Schwarzman building, was illustrated by Donato Bertelli in the late 16 th century. The volume is an example of Venice in Love, an exhibition featuring the NYPLs collectings of erotic and romantic artifacts from the Republic of Venice, which existed as an independent state from the 13 th to 18 th centuries.
In her description of the exhibition, curator Madeleine Viljoen notes that Venice, a comparatively liberated secular state, was famed for its high-end courtesans and low-end prostitutes, as well as the beauty and elaborated grooming of its girls. Throughout its lifetime, the state became a prime destination for lovers and pleasure seekers, along with art-lovers and the exhibition sets on display the union between Venices artistic proclivities and its erotic ones.
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As for Bertellis peekaboo love scene, why hide the romantic embracing behind another depicting? Viljoen, also the NYPL publishes curator, told The Huffington Post in an email that the purpose of the interactive flap book was clearly sex. The Venetian flap books, she said, were designed with the titillation of the viewer in mind.
Another flap book tilts even more explicitly softcore, permitting readers to legislate a pre-photographic version of an upskirt shoot 😛 TAGEND
Viljoens description of the exhibition calls attention to the young womans underwear and platform shoes, known as chopines a sexy getup for the time.
These two flap books arent simply eye-grabbing; theyre highly unusual. There has been much interest in recent years in so-called interactive publishes, Viljoen told HuffPost. However,[ t] hese were usually didactic and included items like paper astrolabes or anatomical examines … except for the books shown in the Librarys collection, I cannot think of any other examples of specifically erotic flap books.
The sensuous images found in the NYPLs Venetian publishes dont look much like modern day erotica in olden days, after all, a glimpse of stocking was appeared upon as something shocking but boast the same twinkle of subversive playfulness that still titillates frisson-seekers today. The act of lifting the curtain from the young lovers or of creating the courtesans skirt seems quintessentially voyeuristic, Viljoen told HuffPost.
When it comes to the erotic, some things never change.
Venice in Love is on display at the Wachenheim Gallery at the Stephen A. Schwarzman building through Aug. 26.
Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com