Fertility Goddesses and Gods

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Reproduction and Sexuality

Fertility Goddesses

and Gods

Human reproduction is important to all cultures to carry on the family line and

to contribute to the work force.

During the Paleolithic period, goddess were round, bulbous figures with

swollen bellies, breast and thighs. By the Neolithic period, goddess also

became more wedge-shaped, angular and became known as “plank idols”.

Fertility gods had large penises to represent virility of the man and his family line.

Some of these early representations could have been used in rituals and/or

past down from one generation to another maintaining its “mana” (power).


Fertility Goddesses

Venus of Willendorf

25,000 – 20,000 BCE

Stone 4 3/8” H

Paleolithic - Austria

Cypriot fertility goddess

3000-2500 BCE

Mother of the Fruitful Breast

2000 BCE

Babylonian


Fertility Goddesses

Beersheba Venus

4500-3500 BCE

Hippo ivory

Jerusalem

Idol from Amorgos

2500 – 2300 BCE

Marble 30” H

Neolithic - Cycladic Islands


Fertility Goddesses

Venus of Willendorf

25,000 – 20,000 BCE

Stone 4 3/8” H

Paleolithic - Austria

Idol from Amorgos

2500 – 2300 BCE

Marble 30” H

Neolithic - Cycladic Islands

Mother of the Fruitful Breast

2000 BCE

Babylonian


Relief sculpture

Venus of Lassel

France

Paleolithic era

21,000 BCE

bas relief

Sandra Wascher

Secrets 1992 ceramic 50” x 36”

Since art school, I have been fascinated with prehistoric man and his imagery.

It inspired the piece above after a personal event in my life and was therapeutic

in its creation.


Diego Rivera was commissioned to paint a series of frescos on the ceiling and walls in the chapel

(now a conference room) at the Universidad Autonoma de Chapingo.

The frescos are titled “Tierra Fecundada” (Fertile Land). The university specializes in agriculture and forestry.

These frescos are considered some of Rivera’s greatest works.

Diego Rivera

The Virgin Earth

Universidad Autonoma de Chapingo, Chapel

1926-27 Mexico


Diego Rivera

The Fertile Earth

Universidad Automona de

Chapingo, Chapel

1926-27

Fresco mural


The goddess of fertility was inspirational to me

when I was asked to be in a show titled

“Reinventing the Bra”. Who would need a bra,

such as mine (on the right) in the 21 st C?

Sandra Wascher

Artemis 2000

1999 Mixed media

Lady of Ephesus

Roman sculpture 81-96 CE

from the Temple of Artemis 550 BCE Greek

Ephesus (in present-day Turkey)


Fertility Gods

Obelisks usually represented a sun ray, yet I find them to also be a representation of a

male phallic symbol, since these heavy stone pieces had to be “erected”. Man’s desire to reach

towards the skies and its own penis being an important entity of virility, strength and prosperity.

Granite Obelisk, Karnak 1280 BCE

Erected by King Tuthmosis I

Ancestral Poles

1960 New Guinea


Fertility Gods

Priapus

God of Fertility

protector of livestock,

fruit plants, gardens

and male genitalia

Pompeii 1 st C CE

Roman fresco

(Greek mythology)


Priapus

God of Fertility

Pompeii

1 st C CE

Roman fresco

Fertility Gods


Fertility Gods

Priapus, God of Fertility

Gallo-Roman

3 rd C CE

Priapus, God of Fertility

Roman 179-240 CE marble 62” h


Modern Phallic Symbol

Lillie Hitchcock Coit, a wealthy socialite, had this monument erected to honor the fireman in San Francisco.

It rather resembles the end of a fire hose and stands as a phallic symbol of strength. There are also 27

murals by various artists painted on the lobby interior walls. This structure and its murals are an historical

monument and worth visiting.

Arthur Brown, Jr. & Henry Howard

Bequest of Lillie Hitchcock Coit

Coit Tower San Francisco 1935


Claes Oldenburg

Modern Phallic Symbols

One of my favorite artists, Claes Oldenburg changes the

scale of everyday items. I started noticing his affinity

with vertical items in more feminine products which

remind me of phallic symbols.

Lipstick (ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks 1969-1974

Cor-Ten steel, steel, aluminum, cast resin;

painted with polyurethane enamel

23’ 6” x 24’ 11” x 10’ 11“ (7.2 x 7.6 x 3.3 m)

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Vacuum Cleaner 1967 7’h


Claes Oldenburg

Clothespin 1976

Centre Square Plaza, Philadelphia

45’ x 12’ 3” x 4’ 6”

with Coosje van Bruggen

Plantoir 2001

aluminum, fiber-reinforced plastic, steel

23’ h Des Moines, IA

Batcolumn 1979

Steel and aluminum painted with polyurethane enamel

96” 8” high x 9’ 9”dia on top, on base 4’high x 10’ dia

Harold Washington Social Security Center , Chicago


Art Depicting

Primordial and Human Couples

Primordial – first couple or mother/father of humankind

Rooted in creation myths, Adam and Eve are depicted in

Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions.

Imagery of the garden of Eden and their expulsion from it.

What might this metaphoric story represent?


Primordial Couples

Masaccio

The Expulsion from Paradise 1427

Albrecht Dürer

Adam and Eve

Engraving 1504 Renaissance


Michelangelo

Garden of Eden & Expulsion

Sistine Chapel ceiling 1508-1512


Primordial Couples

Fernando Botero

Adam y Eva 1970s

Susan Valadon

Adam and Eve 1909


Human Couples

Jan van Eyck

The Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini

and Giovanna Cenami

1434 Fernando Botero

Les Arnolfini 1978

appropriation


Human Couples / Miscegenation

Anton Hickel

Roxelane and the Sultan 1780

Alexandre-Marie Colin

Othello and Desdemona

1829


Human Couples

Emil Nolde

Young Couple 1913

German Expressionism

Egon Schiele

Seated Couple 1915 Expressionism

gouache & pencil 20” x 16”


Primordial & Human Couples

Henry Moore

Family Group

1948-49 bronze

Many modern artists

of the 20 th C were influenced

by African art,

such as Henry Morore

and Pablo Picasso.

Ancestral Couple

Yoruba people, Ikere, Nigeria

Olowe of Ise-Palace Sculpture 1910-1914

King and Queen

Henry Moore

1953 bronze


Primordial & Human Couples

Pablo Picasso

Female Form

1949 bronze

Dogon people

Ancestral Couple

Mali, Africa 28 ¼”

Young Man

Pablo Picasso

1956 bronze


Human Couples

Beatrice Wood

Neo-Realism

He Could Not Wait

1984 ceramic

Point of No Return

1957

21 ¾” x 12” x 7” ceramic


Beatrice Wood

Good Morning America

1988 Ceramic 23” x 17”

Neo-Realism


Additive Sculpture

Constructing

Sandra Wascher

Second Thoughts

2001 Steel & mixed media

36” x 60” x 28”

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