One of the most intriguing games that poets and dreamers play with time and a sense of the self is picking a period from out of the past in which they would like to have lived. Suppose we turn this around to ask which artists or writers from out of the past would, out of all time up to the present, most want to be alive now. Thomas Rowlandson was roundly, resonantly alive. His art reveals an immense affirmation of life. And it is such vitality more than any other single quality which suggests that--if he had his choice--Rowlandson might very well want to be one of us.
Warning: This article contains graphic drawings that may not be suitable for work environments. He was born in Boulogne sur Seine, France, in He worked as an illustrator in Brussels and Paris, drawing artworks to accompany poems by Paul Verlaine, a novel by H. Wells, and French translations of Sherlock Holmes stories. He married and had no children.
Art has always been intrinsically linked to expression, passion and sensuality, but across the centuries, there have been surprisingly few unambiguous depictions of the carnal act in its naked glory. Here, Jonathan Jones chooses his favourite 10 erotic pieces. Japanese S hunga art is explicit about sex in a way western artists never found easy before the 20th century. As you unfurl the scroll, detailed and beautifully coloured scenes of lovemaking reveal themselves.