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An introduction to

Art forms - Art functions

It's all about sensuality.

The word sensuality is poorly defined. Its use rarely seems to be lewd or carnel as Websters Dictionary suggests but it is a word that implies bodily sensation and associations with sexuality.

A definition from the Oxford English Dictionary is more helpful-

"The condition of being pleasing or fulfilling to the senses."

Sir Edward John Poynter - Cave of the Storm Nymphs.

The cave of the Storm Nymphs illustrated above is an outstanding piece of artwork on many levels.

Sir Edward John Poynter was 66 years old when he painted the first version of this work over 100 years ago, in 1902.
In many sources Nymphs are described as "minor deities" of Greek folklore. Nymphs therefore have the confusing status of Gods or Goddesses without the rank, and presumably power of a fully functional God.
The shipwreck suggests they are Sirens, creatures whose function is to lure sailors to their death.

It is widely available as a popular print, primarily I feel because it is pleasing or fulfilling to the senses.

Its principal appeal is not the quality of the painting, though that undoubtably helps, the key to its attraction is a simple and obvious one- Nudity, Nakedness, Exposed Flesh.

The video above illustrates another work by Poynter, Andromeda chained to the rocks. If you play the video you can see her as he painted her- naked. The clothed version is a modern modification for the art market.


Sensuality goes hand in hand with distraction, leading to the current day obsession with television and the mobile phone. The core cause of todays obsession with communication and various forms of media entertainment have been with us from the earliest of times, deeply ingrained, some say products of God and the Devil. Even God, they say, can't change the past.

Even God can't change the past. - Charlotte Church

Art and its influence on body and life.

Have you noticed how much you feel?

Feeling is fundamental.

Feeling is the foundation of Life.
It is the most significant actuality in the Universe.

Where there is feeling there is life. Life without feeling is the essence of danger. The abuse of feeling is the essence of evil.

“Feeling” there is something not quite right about those statements “touches” on a distinction we make between using the same word for more than one purpose. We distinguish between emotional sensation and physical events. Touching your toes, experiencing a foot massage, and feeling you have grasped a difficult conceptual insight all involve feeling.

Keeping your legs locked straight and bending at the waist, the physical contact between fingers and toes or shoes is physical confirmation of whether touching your toes was a successful endeavour or not. Having someone massage your feet is for many a pleasant physical perception, but do we appreciate the grasping of a conceptual insight for the whole body physical sensation that it actually is? It may be a warmly satisfying moment, a sense of emotional elation, or a eureka moment of ecstasy depending on your insight, but all these examples are “touching” physical events.

As is language.

Language is a physical experience.

A more pertinent question than what does language “feel like” is why we distinguish between mental and physical events, between mind and body, between thoughts and feelings?

We do so mostly because we are told to. We are told it is so, and questioning such an obvious notion will not sit well with those doing the telling. Your teacher can pick up a dictionary and throw it at you to demonstrate what a physical, material event is, accompanying it with a verbal insult as to your intelligence.

Which hurts most? A blow from the dictionary (for which the teacher may quickly apologise) or the language, the verbal insult to your intelligence for saying something which to you is obviously true?

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me."

Utter nonsense, old wives tosh, the spoken word can have powerful physical consequences, from the emotive flush of embarrassment changing the colour of your skin to attempted or successful suicide.

Language, carefully chosen or with ill intent invokes physical consequences. It is the physical aspect of how feelings are evoked that lies behind the whole of fictional writing. The author seeks to induce physical empathy in the reader.

Feeling, whether through touch or emotion is a physical event. Language is physical.

This is clearly not something scientists, philosophers, and those committed to their trust in common-sense will readily agree with. They of course know.

It may take some time before many people recognise the false distinction between the sensorial and the cerebral, leading to a simple insight that the physical requires no material presence.

Living Art


Small trees


A digression into the world of small trees.