Recently, a painting by Amedeo Modigliani was bought at auction for $170 million. I'm sure Amadeo would agree that's a lot of prosciutto even in today's anemic dollars. The painting is called Reclining Nude. As you might guess, it depicts a reclining nude, in this case one of the female variety. That is to say, along with an elbow and a nose and that sort of thing, Modi includes in his work the unmistakable representations of two breasts and a vagina.
Huffington Post claims that while reporting on the sale of the painting, Bloomberg News displayed an image of it with the breasts and vagina blurred. We are left to guess why, so I can only assume that someone in a position of authority found the image sexually arousing and/or thought viewers would.
Full disclosure requires that I declare I am not a psychologist. Common sense requires that I declare that a nine inch image of a modernist painting of a nude woman displayed on a television screen is not erotic. In addition, a person who finds that it is should immediately seek professional help.
Long ago, when everyone was decent and righteous and claimed to love God, men had no internet, no photography, no movies. When it came to sex, men had only three choices- another human, some other large mammal, and fine art. Considering the state of peasants, flocks and herds of the day, fine art was a damned fine option if you ask me.
At the time, most people couldn't read because kings and such prefer their masses to remain as illiterate as new-born babes. When the king wanted people to know something, he hired an artist to illustrate it. The big subjects of the day were the Bible and mythology, as both reinforce the idea that it's alright for someone big, like God or Zeus to run the lives of the little people, implying that it's natural for the king to assume this role on earth.
Fortunately for the illiterati, these subjects left plenty of opportunity for artists to display their mastery of the human form. So naturally, in those days, the Garden of Eden was everyone's favorite bible story, and the most decent of Christian men had an extensive knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology. Everyone who wasn't blind was no doubt quite familiar with Eve's breasts and Aphrodite's vagina, the result of extensive study of
scripture, both Christian and pagan. There are no recorded attempts to blur anything.
But that was then. This is now.
Amadeo Modigliani was born in 1884. George Eastman invented camera film in 1885. By the time Modi could handle a brush, the handwriting was on the wall. There was no future in painting porn. The camera was the future. It appears that Modi was not painting erotica, he was painting art.
A hundred and thirty years later, and here we are. Thanks to the internet, modern Man can name the gender, color, shape, age, nationality, species, and sexual persuasion of his or her fantasy along with a specific act or acts to be performed in high definition, and in the time it takes to say, "oh God," there you have it. Under the circumstances, why would someone in need of arousal turn to Bloomberg News to catch a fleeting glimpse of a modernist painting of a woman alone on a couch with her hands behind her head? To the normal, healthy, 21st century Man, Modi's paintings are just not hot.
On the other hand, someone at Bloomberg News was concerned about someone else appreciating Reclining Nude in the naughty way. I refer both those someones to a rumored long-lost document attributed to Pope Julius II who commissioned Michaelangelo to paint his ceiling. Julius, facing the same concerns regarding the portrayal of the human form in art is believed by some to have issued a legendary Papal Bull titled, "No Vi e Pazzo Come un Pazzo Jiusto," or, "There is No Fool Like a Righteous Fool."