Because modern art is so much a part of our historical culture, there is a tendency for students learning about it to think that it consumed everyone, delighted everyone...and that is not the case. Paintings like this which were academic in style and literary or historical in subject were tremendously popular with most of the public. This is a glorious example of academic painting and why people then and now find it so absorbing. Beyond the technical expertise (notes how Godward depicts the gauzy fabrics, the marble floor and walls, the different textures of silk ribbon, animal skins, and flesh), there is the undeniable lure of the female body. This was a very erotic painting for the 19th century, certainly for Victorian England which was so obsessed with outward morality. Today, art historians interested in issues of gender are intrigued by possible subtexts to the representation of the female body, including those that address issues of gay and lesbian behavior. Looking at these paintings from a purely heterosexual, male oriented position is no longer possible.