“A Luncheon” by James Tissot, c.1868
Aphrodisiacs on Paintings
All these aphrodisiac’s issues started from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and pleasure, which is often imagined emerging from a clamshell. There is more than one story about her origins but the most popular one is of Hesiod, according to which Aphrodite was born when Cronus cut off Uranus’s genitals and threw them into the sea, and she arose from the sea foam. Gods feared that her beauty would lead to war and married her to Hephaestus, who was ugly and was not seen as a threat. Aphrodite had many lovers and played a role in the Eros and Psyche legend.
“The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli, 1486.
To be considered an aphrodisiac, a substance should match three requirements:
- Be taken orally
- Reliably increase libido or sexual desire
- Take effect in a relatively immediate time frame (minutes or hours, not days or weeks)
Do aphrodisiacs really work? Who knows? Enjoy the art, sample these aphrodisiac foods with your sweetie and see if the science holds true. Aphrodisiac is about belief: you might believe in it or might not, but it will not hurt to try.
Oysters have been considered the most notable aphrodisiac for ages, but only recently it was found that they are rich in zinc and amino acids that trigger production of sex hormones.
“Private Indulgence” by Georges Croegaert
Although, honey is associated with love and sex in both the Bible and the Karma Sutra, there are no scientific facts linking together honey and sexuality. But then again, some questions arise. Why at traditional Indian weddings, the groom is often offered honey to boost his stamina? Why an alcoholic beverage made from honey and named mead is given to the happy bride and groom in many cultures? Where the “honeymoon” got its name from?
“Cup of Honey” by Konstantin Makovsky, c. 1890
The omega-3 fats in fatty fish like salmon and sardines, have been shown to preserve collagen – the fibrous protein that keeps skin firm, youthful-looking and wrinkle-free. Do you know that your skin begins to decline starting in your twenties?
A cafe in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire, watercolour by Amedeo Preziosi, between 1850 and 1882
A newly found natural aphrodisiac, watermelon works by relaxing blood vessels, improving blood circulation in the genitals, just like Viagra but without many side effects associated with the drug. In its content, watermelon has two amino acids – lycopene and citrulline – that play key-roles in the process.
“Merchant's Wife” by Boris Kustodiev, 1918
Artichoke is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which are critical to proper body function and blood flow. Tough on the outside and soft on the inside, artichokes are well versed in the game of hard-to-get, but their history as an aphrodisiac is mostly due to mythology and the intimacy of eating it with another, pulling off the leaves to reach the center.
“The Five Senses – Taste” by Abraham Bosse, 1643
The notorious Italian womanizer and author Giacomo Casanova mentions chocolate in his memoirs, frequently discussing his habit of consuming cups of chocolate in order to sustain his lustful exploits.
“A Young Couple Drinking Chocolate, With a Madame Looking On” by Jean-Baptiste Mallet (1759-1835)