“…and there, against the wall, without obstructing rag or leaf, you may look your fill upon the foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses–Titian’s Venus. It isn’t that she is naked and stretched out on a bed–no, it is the attitude of one of her arms and hand. If I ventured to describe that attitude, there would be a fine howl–but there the Venus lies, for anybody to gloat over that wants to–and there she has a right to lie, for she is a work of art, and Art has its privileges.
I saw young girls stealing furtive glances at her; I saw young men gaze long and absorbedly at her; I saw aged, infirm men hang upon her charms with a pathetic interest. How I should like to describe her–just to see what a holy indignation I could stir up in the world–just to hear the unreflecting average man deliver himself about my grossness and coarseness, and all that. The world says that no worded description of a moving spectacle is a hundredth part as moving as the same spectacle seen with one’s own eyes–yet the world is willing to let its son and its daughter and itself look at Titian’s beast, but won’t stand a description of it in words. Which shows that the world is not as consistent as it might be.”