Correggio (1489 - 1534) is one of my favorite erotic artists of the Early Renaissance as he was the was the first to take art past modest nudity and straight into full blown eroticism! Correggio was an Italian artist and followed earlier artists' lead of using mythological themes for the nudes in his paintings. Also, like Botticelli, he was able to do so through private patronage away from the Church.
After Botticelli's Birth of Venus, several other artists had began using the nude in their paintings, often using mythological themes, as was popular with the Southern Renaissance though Christian themes (usually depicting Adam & Eve) were still common in the North as well as some mythological ones.
Out of the blue, 45 years after the Birth of Venus, came this stunning series of erotic paintings by Correggio.
The Loves of Jupiter ~ Correggio
Correggio was commissioned by Federigo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, to do a series of paintings depicting the Loves of Jupiter for a room in his palace.
This highly erotic painting is one of the series and to me the most sensual. It portrays a mythological scene where Io, daughter of the first king of Argos Inachus, is seduced by Jupiter, who hides behind the dunes to avoid hurting the jealous Juno.
Among the series was also paintings of "Leda and the Swan", "Danae", "Venus and Cupid and Satyr", and "Ganymede Abducted by the Eagle."
From here on in, we begin to see more and more eroticism creeping into High Art.