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Ancient Zeus painting is 'most erotic'

Jan. 7, 2004 at 12:34 PM

NEW YORK, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A 500-year-old painting of the Greek mythological god Zeus seducing a nymph has been selected as the "most erotic work in art," ARTNews magazine reported.

ARTNews surveyed curators, museum directors and historians for its January issue, which focuses on sex in art, to name the most erotic artwork.

Painted in the 1530s by Italian Renaissance artist Correggio, the winning work, "Jupiter and Io," depicts Zeus, in the form of a cloud, and a surrendering nymph. The original work hangs in a Vienna museum.

The expression on the woman's face reflects "a state of ecstasy that is very much like the kind of abandonment you feel while making love," said one judge quoted in the article.

Ruth Westheimer, the noted sex expert known as "Dr. Ruth," agreed, saying, "To me that image illustrates one of the great ways to kiss: so lightly, so softly, with the lips barely touching, so that it seems as if you are kissing a cloud."

Westheimer used the painting for the cover of her book, "The Art of Arousal."

Other nominees included Rodin's clutching couple of "The Kiss" and Courbet's anatomical close-up, "The Origin of the World."

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