GUEST BLOG / By the Public Domain Review--This wonderfully unique object, from the collection of Henry Wellcome, stands perhaps as something of an embodiment itself of the nineteenth century’s complex attitudes to sex — at first glance exuding nothing but chasteness of a bowl of fruit, but upon closer inspection revealing a much saucier substratum.
And indeed, it is perhaps not entirely inappropriate that with this multi-layered painting the eye alone won’t do: one must get up close and personal and use one’s hands. Contrary to first impressions, the painting is actually made up of a wooden slat slid into the frame in such a way as to show purest vision to the world.
About the artist — given only as “Sommonte” — not so much is known, but the object is thought to have been produced in Naples, Italy, at some point in the 1800s.
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