Maite Zubiaurre ducked inside an antique shop to escape the heat of a sweltering August day in Madrid. There, she found a treasure trove of old maps and world globes. But what caught her attention was a dusty photo album. Tucked beneath the piles of forgotten history was a risque collection of images featuring naked men and women engaging in a variety of sex acts. The most surprising, however, were photos and sketches of nuns and priests frolicking together on consecrated ground.
Men and Women
Maite Zubiaurre realized she had discovered more than just a half-hidden collection of “naughty pictures.” Rather, she held in her hands a wealth of suppressed and forgotten materials revealing a subversive countercurrent in the early 20th century. She studied these images along with their traditional narratives and eventually a book was created.
The result, Cultures of the Erotic in Spain, 1898-1939, is the first academic book analyzing the rich visual and textual representations of the erotic Spanish culture during pre-Franco times. Zubiaurre examines erotic magazines, illustrations, photographs, stereoscopic images, “French” postcards, and pornographic short films. She finds the Spanish popular erotica embracing not only sexual liberation but foreign technology including bicycles and typewriters.
Eager to Please
Her book, Cultures of the Erotic reveals a candid and irreverent Spain. It was a time before succumbing to the stifling circumstances of the post-Civil War Franco dictatorship, and how everyone seems to be reveling in the impulses of the human libido.