Size isn’t everything – according to sculpture.

There is something odd about Grecian and classical sculpture: the size of the male organ – if you will.

Whilst the modern viewer might think the larger the better – this was not in fact the case. In the Greek style, the smaller the penis the more restrained, the more humble the man in question – gluttony of the flesh was not to be admired.

Over time, the genitalia of such sculpture disappeared – the male sculptures were castrated and became eunuchs – society was just too shocked by the shameless nudity of the stone creations, even before the advent of the stereotypically prudish Victorians.

When Michelangelo displayed David in the main plaza of Florence, spectators were horrified and insisted that the offending item be covered by a belt of fig leafs – such practice was already common and can be seen on many depictions of Eve’s seduction by Satan along with other versions of David.

In other paintings and sculptures the metaphorical fig leaf of draped material was  worked into the sculptures of artists such as Bellini – in order to escape persecution by state bodies such as the ‘Fig Leaf police’ of Rome and the Vatican in particular who made sure that all statues were suitably covered.

The same issue was experienced in England during the mid 1800s – this time due, according to legend, that during Victoria’s visit to the V and A museum in London she was so shocked that she fainted at the sight of the measly male member of a copy of Michelangelo’s, already scandalous sculpture. Thus, a ceramic fig leaf was custom made for him.

And it continues today – but generally for more thought provoking reasons than prudish embarrassment

If you are further interested, here is a rather enlightening documentary on Iplayer…see the link below

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00ydp38

Really what is our issue with the more intimate parts of our body – why??

 

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