■ 9 October 2012 by James Martin
When literary giants pick an erotic theme, it is likely to be built around a distinct difference in social status and power. The rich and erotic dirtiness of the garden is often the setting, especially formal gardens belonging to the rich, which need substantial care provided by the wretchedly poor. The bored rich woman, ignored by her husband, always seems to be attracted to the earthy gardener, whose bronzed skin and muscular arms make her swoon. I wonder why?
“The devil is in the details” is a saying that derives from “God is in the detail”, which, to us relativists, is the same thing anyway. In any case I’ve strolled the Hanbury villa outside of Ventimiglia, a very interesting place indeed for the little erotic tidbits you see pictured here. You can use the devil or God to begin your exploration, either end of the eternal circle.
I especially like the picture of the plaque attached to the outside of the Hanbury villa shown in the upper right. I wonder how many people notice it? A centaur brushes his hand across a woman’s lush flanks. She seems not to be at all angry at his caress. She is certainly ripe. Look at those eyes. (You can blow her up by clicking with your mouse. Go ahead, it won’t hurt her.) And don’t go looking up anything like “centaur sex” in the Urban dictionary either. You could be surprised out of your easy chair.
Then there is the sculpture called “La Schiava” on the right. The slave. How low a social status can you achieve? And who’s the master? Well, there in the fountain is your answer, a toothy beasty indeed. Her marble skin gleams in the light. She frets.
How can you not stroll through a garden like this and not find hints of an erotic world?
The gardens are now maintained by the University of Genoa and are called Centro Universitario di Servizi Giardini Botanici Hanbury
You should go.
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