I was convinced by others that I ought to watch, much against my will, a television program recently. And I am glad, even though I have no intention of following through and purchasing such a device, that I succumbed to the temptation. Occasionally, as we all know, there are things of interest within things which are not of interest, and television is one of those Things. The bulk, as far as I am concerned, of what is projected into countless living rooms is worthless, a complete waste of time. Just, now and then, something manages to get through the mire. In this case it was a program about the hidden archives of erotica worldwide, and the fanatical collecting lust of some of those private people who search for and hoard such things.
In fact, it has been a weekend of interesting events, many of which were also very strange. In this television program I learned, for example, that a museum has a marble statue of a hermaphrodite – male below, female above – and has carefully positioned the lying figure so that the ‘below’ is facing a wall and cannot be seen. From the rear, where the bulk of passersby would view it, everything appears female, just the male part is effectively censored.
Photo Source: Ferbr1 – Public Domain
I also learned that the biggest archive of erotica, which is not open to the public, is in the Vatican. Quite aside from a picture of God’s Ass in the Sistine Chapel – which we all knew about, right? – they have a massive collection of books and art work which appears on their Index of works not suitable for the world – or their religious world. And they also have another collection which may come as something of a surprise: the world’s largest collection of marble penises.
How did they come by this? Back in the day it was considered normal for certain religious people to smash this small part of many Greek and Roman statues off, to preserve the sensibilities of those who cannot admit that the human being has sexual organs. But what should they do with all the amputated parts? For some reason it was decided to keep them, separate from their source, in the Vatican. A massive cupboard full of male bits. So, next time you hear someone talking about a bag of dicks, or similar, you know who has the biggest bag.
And finally, from this small excursion into the realms of art, the most popular question posed to the Curator by American tourists visiting the Musee d’Orsay?
Why are all the statues nude?
Hard to answer, without going into social details which would probably blow the minds of most sexually conservative North Americans.
- Viktoria Michaelis.