Gender and Sexuality

 This is possibly Henri's most famous painting among his obsession of his other artworks based on his fascination for jungle backgrounds. The Dream has an interpretation for the female gender and sexuality. The female figure is in a tropical forest background where her presence is enhanced, of nature's flora and fauna near her. Some animals are reoccurring symbols of fertility and erotica such as the snake and the flowers. The Dream presents a rather calm and somewhat surrealistic atmosphere, according Henri, felt humanity needed a break from the civil society that has driven away the very basic natural human being. The woman is focusing on the hidden flute player while reclined on the couch, an anomaly compliments the whole nature theme, The romantic theme between the female figure and the flute player reflects that of the painter and a maiden, based on Rousseau's experience.  The female figure is greatly praised than the male figure since art evolved further viewpoints in life from cave paintings. Both genders find the female anatomy more attractive, even women can emit sexual attraction to it. It could be the reign of patriarchy over the history where femininity is kept in the midst of male domination, women being shunned in limited areas in civilization causing the other gender a rare find, thus making an appearance and approach a serendipity. Another reason is gender is strongly effective in psychology. A dichotomy concept between the user’s feminine side and masculine side that make up a personality and behaviour. The masculine psyche is common within developing civilizations, but the feminine psyche has a tighter grip to manipulate the user in themes of discipline, collective information, practicality, especially unity and relationships during the era of wars were cast out only in rural communities. Women have often stayed in the grounded culture outside the development of civilizations by men. Most cultures restricted women to only work in homes, not being able to participate in the advancement or revolutions. Hence, Rousseu, as a personal guess, using plants and animals being symbols of humanity’s origin from mother nature embracing a female figure takes note of returning to an origin in opposition of humanity’s advancement.perspective
Painted in Paris. The figure is relax and taking a break after modelling. The look on her eyes may look deceiving along with her neglecting hand gestures. Her body language sends out a curiosity on what she's thinking by looking at the viewer. There are times during labor, where behavior is differentiated between working ours and break time, she shows her real aura from her model self. The sight of pubic hair present is uncommon from other nude paintings, it may symbolize her rebel attitude in opposite to the stereotypical modest female and other female nudists to not display any groin hair. Groin hair is forbidden in nude art as it relates to beastly traits and filth, despite the fact it is a symptom of fertility. 
Cupid is the God of Love hence being the son of Venus. Cupid being sadistic here is a twisted depiction when love can be harmful. Love can cause mental and bodily suffering after breakups. Cupid can be seen here playing with another partner's heart. There is a psychological fact that men and women have different sexual attractions. Females take more time to feel attached to their partners than males. Men are limited in showing emotions and often prefer a habit of material possession into a sense of pride. The differences explain why first-time relationships happens to be fragile being that break-ups are normal as first step until marriage. 
Edvard depicts three kinds of women in society. The lady in white dress signifies modesty, the center a nude figure in opposition to the dressed figure, and the woman in black robe who's possibly a nun, stereotypically speaking of having a locked-in personality of only relying on dutiful tasks or that a marriage breaking apart. A male figure standing nearby in an awkward and unsure position may be thinking to see different aspects of women being liberated, independent, or rebellious in one place. It’s possible that all three female figures are the same person in three stages: first as unmarried virgin in symbolic white dress, the expected female figure exposed during sex, and the later age where there are relationships crises or a husband had passed away.
Madonna expresses the concept of dichotomy. Despite the virgin archetype, Edvard depicted her posture in a serene yet erotic display. Her daydreaming expression explains what's left of her modesty as a virgin. The dark background engulfs her as a succubus that embraces her usual saintly character. Her halo is red to symbolize pain and love. Madonna embodies the duality of pleasure and pain. One critic pointed out the way the Madonna is painted resembles the appearance of a vampire or succubus. There have been reflections and philosophies about women and their way of seduction is viewed as dark and mysterious in a man raised in a heavily patriarch background. However at the time where religion and sexism merged, sex was shunned and condemned and women are the archetype of sex towards the patriarchy.
Adonis is the God of beauty as well as the archetype of an attractive male figure, while Venus is the goddess of love and beauty. Both share common themes, in this picture where Venus desires a close attachment for Adonis however; he gives her a sorrow look saying he will be killed by a boar, breaking her. It’s a trope that a person happens to be highly attractive is a rare sight, and unfortunately will only last in a short lifetime. When it comes to attraction, there’s often the halo effect, where appearance is accepted as moral.
Fauns are symbols of lust and that a goat is also an animal symbol of lust. Diana with a half exposed chest and being left in a seductive-like position to sleep arouses the nearby fauns in curiosity, but at the same time are highly aware that she is also a skilful warrior goddess who will catch them peeping. Diana is associated with wild animals, it can be seen within the fauns as part man and animal of the same lust symbol. It’s a feminist view to see a woman who is able to defend herself even at certain times, rape can happen, but seeing her lackadaisical and unaware lures a sight of rape as passivity makes her an object than a person. Both genders are of equal qualities and flaws, no matter how strong a person of their gender are still in risk towards the opposite.  
Cain is well-known for the fact he killed his on genetic brother out of anger. His acts symbolizes the dangerous flaws of man/human about killing, he brought himself downfall with the winged demons flying above him. Cain is an example of aggressive male dominance. Aggression is a major trait in masculinity and so is desire for dominance. The fact men have higher drive in competition and a sense of pride that makes society having to accept a man who possesses those traits. But another fact is male aggression is prone to physical abuse than female aggression is to verbal abuse.  
Cleopatra is often titled as Queen of Sex. She is one of the famous female role models of female sexuality. The posture depicts half of a seductive character while her head faces upwards as if she desires something beyond her role as just a queen. Cleopatra is highlighted in feminism for her role not only of position but her independent insight and approach to men of different cultures. She is also known to know how to motivate men with her seductive yet intelligent character. She was a role model of the emergence of femininity surviving in the patriarch world eager to be noticed.
During Cranach's time in 16th century, men in society prefer women by their looks and fertility than personality. The time where women were still objectified under patriarchy when it comes to marriage and marriage was still arranged with no opinionated judgments. The couple shows a far age gap between an elderly man and a young woman, but instead of feeling disappointed and ashamed unlike today's marriage, the woman seems to not mind but enjoys playing with her accompaniment with the elderly man.  
Where nudity is a close relation to sexuality, and wearing clothes is often part of a status of modesty through physical concealment. The models are all nude but their gestures are in comfort. Full exposure of the body has ties with revealing special parts of male and female anatomy that may trigger sexual drive, but in the case of Hans, it’s human nature. 
Bacchus is often viewed as a symbol of lust. His masculine dominance perceived by the nymphs before him. Nymphs are also symbols of lust; mythical, free-loving maidens who are beautiful and inhabit various places. 
The classic interpretation of differences between man and woman. Both have a look of curiosity on their physic and differences, and ambition aside being created from God. Both figures have respective animals, where a dog near Adam symbolizes loyalty and that a dog is one of Ares' animals, dominating a masculine psych. Eve has a peacock near her, depicting vanity and beauty, one of Venus' animals because of it's flamboyant display of beauty it relies on. 
Hercules is a major example of a male character who has tragic flaws of what it is to be a responsible man. First fault was slaughtering his own family then to overcoming impossible tasks in order to officialise his apology. The male nude (may not actually be Hercules) has an expression in distress and hesitation of undergoing the tasks as he slightly covers in a sheet that could be made into a cape. Muscular anatomy shows a character as masculine, the figure here being driven and ambitious. 
Male figure embraced by shadows enhance and higher level of mystery and bold masculinity. The model is shown to have an athletic body to appeal a kind of advertisement for the surfing sport. 20th century was the realization where businessmen were the archetypal stereotype shunning the masculine aesthetic.
Oedipus was highlighted as male character who kills his father and marries and have sex with his mother; an extreme kind of taboo. A psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud talks about Oedipus Complex and the Elektra Complex based off of the mythical characters attraction to their parents of the opposite gender. A reason behind this taboo, was sexual attraction even in underage in the presence of the opposite-gender parent, whether mother-son relationship or father-daughter relationship because of gender differences. It's because the infancy is learning sexual attraction in its first time encountering the other gender who he/she will propose to. The part where Oedipus kills his father was the result in fact of jealousy, where the son sees the sight of the father in closer relationship to the mother and vice-versa for Elektra Complex. There's even the fact, sexual attraction occurs when men are attracted to women who resemble their mothers, and women attracted to men who resemble their fathers.
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