The Royal Museum at Naples, Being Some Account of The Erotic Paintings, Bronzes, and Statues Contained in that Famous "Cabinet Secret"  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Royal Museum at Naples, Being Some Account of The Erotic Paintings, Bronzes, and Statues Contained in that Famous "Cabinet Secret" (1832) is a French language catalogue raisonné of the of the Secret Museum, Naples by Stanislas Marie César Famin (b. 1799 d. 1853).

Product description

"The ancient Roman and Greek cultures had a very different attitude about sexuality than successive European cultures, more akin to that of the Kama Sutra. This, of course, was unimaginable to latter day Europeans, who rigidly compartmentalized body, mind and spirit, and to whom any sexuality was sinful and morbid.

Some of the best artistic expressions of this can be found in the recovered city of Pompeii. Pompeii was frozen in time by the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D., and not unearthed until 1748. Pompeii was a seaside resort, devoted to the arts, relaxation, and the pursuit of pleasure. The excavators were horrified to discover erotic frescos, mosaics, statuary and phallic votive objects. The moveable erotic artifacts were taken to Naples and kept in seclusion in the Royal Museum. The erotic wall and floor art had lockable metal boxes constructed over them and were displayed to tourists for an extra fee (women and children excluded). When I visited Pompeii in the late 1960s, this peepshow was still in operation.

This work is a translation of a book by a 19th Century French antiquarian Cesar Famin. In 1816 (according to a citation in the Library of Congress catalog) he published (under the initials M. C. F.) Musee royal de Naples; peintures, bronzes et statues Erotiques du cabinet secret, avec leur explication containing sixty lithographs of the best erotic artifacts in the Naples collection. The name of the artist is unknown. The volume was published with the cooperation of the Naples museum in a very limited edition. The French authorities confiscated and destroyed most known copies of the original book. One ended up in the 'Private Case' of the British Museum. There is also a copy in the Special Collections of the Library of Congress.

In 1871, an English translation of Famin's work was published in England under the byline of 'Colonel Fanin'. Privately printed in a limited edition, this translation became one of the rarest erotic books. [...]

Famin's text to accompany the images is deeply conflicted. He is obviously drawn to the subject matter and has a deep understanding of the significance of the artifacts. He also takes every opportunity to condemn Classical sexual practices and cultural values. Whether this is a figleaf or a sincere reaction is impossible to determine. However, in spite of the 'shocked, shocked' attitude in Famin's text, it contains quite a bit of valid and well-researched information, including quotes from classical authors and details of mythology, artistic methods, spiritual practices, architecture, and literature.

These pictures are fairly explicit and aren't for everyone. Few of the items on display here are excessively purient by contemporary standards. These are historical cultural artifacts, not pornography. Nonetheless, consider yourself warned." (Quote from

Table of Contents

Introduction; The Satyr And The Goat; Marsyas And Olympus; Venus Callipyge; Sarcophagus; The God Pan On A Mule; Invocation To Priapus; Bacchanalia; Sacrifice To Priapus; The Phalluses In Stone; Two Little Votive Columns; Drillopota; Drillopota; Drillopota; Dancer To The Crotalum; A Priapus-hermes; Votive Figure; The Hermes In Bronze; The Tripod; Two Mimic Buffoons; Two Idols; Three Bronze Figures; A Votive Phallus; Phallus-hermes; Votive Phallus; Votive Phalli; Votive Phalli; Votive Phallus; Votive Phalli; Bronze Amulets; The Surprised Nymph; The Flight Of Aeneas; The Faun's Kiss; A Satyr And A Bacchante; Venus On Her Shell Conch; Spinthria; Mercury And Yphtima; An Erotic Scene; Spinthria; Spinthria; An Hermaphrodite; An Hermaphrodite And Faun; A Satyr And Hermaphrodite; A Faun And Bacchante; Spinthria; Spinthria; Spinthria; Spinthria; Spinthria; Apollo And A Nymph; Aeneas And Dido; Spinthria; Spinthria; Spinthria; Group Of Animals; Pan And Syrinx; Pan And Syrinx; Etruscan Vase; Hercules And The Stymphalic Birds; Bell-shaped Vase; Bell-shaped Vase; Langelle Vase.

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