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(CNN)In the history of Western art, the erotic has long been hidden, ignored or condemned.

For centuries, one had to look to mythological or even religious works for representations of the naked body, even a mere breast — a nude Venus, goddess of love and beauty, in Ancient Rome, or Adam and Eve as symbolic representations of sin in paradise.

It’s only relatively recently that erotic art has become truly transgressive in nature. Freed from the shackles of myth, religion and academia, it gives way to the fury of desire.

Historically, there have always been pockets of eroticism in art. The infamous frescoes of doomed Pompeii, for example, featured oversized erections and sex acts, and artists in India, China and Japan have long captured explicit sex scenes freely and beautifully.

Sexuality would take hold in Europe much later, with the rise of the>>

CREDIT: OLIVIER ZAHM, CNN

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