Hedonism in Art

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Would it not be true to say that most images produced today, are about Hedonism in some way or another? Paintings, photographs, print media and even what we see splayed over social media sharing or inspiring the pursuit of please and self gratification. We expose and share facets of our lives in pursuit of the things that make us happiest, or necessarily we aspire to make us happy. Notably, it is assumed that hedonism is predominately about sexual and bodily happiness but the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus taught hedonism beyond the physical realms. His teachings sought to inspire that happiness should be found within, for people to live simply and untroubled.

In art, the representations of hedonism flicker between modesty, vulgarity, romanticism and eroticism. Here are some of the art that I have always felt drawn to, that inspire the pursuit of happiness in whatever form I find it.

The Swing: Jean-Honore Fragonard 1767
The Swing: Jean-Honore Fragonard 1767

 

Cupid and Psyche
Cupid and Psyche

 

Perspective
Perspective 1923: Tamara De Lempicka

 

La belle Rafaëla 1927: Tamara De Lempicka
La belle Rafaëla 1927: Tamara De Lempicka

 

“where there’s smoke there’s fire” 1930: Russell Paterson

 

Pornocrates 1896: Felicia Rops
Pornocrates 1896: Felicia Rops

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