Wellcome Trust Exhibition. The most arresting and visually shocking image that caused me a sharp intake of breath at the Death Exhibition is an erotically macabre sketch, L’Agonie (1896) by Félicien Rops. This depicts a skeleton performing cunnilingus on a voluptuous woman alluded to be St Theresa. Rops embodies the obsession with and conflation between death, religion and sexual ecstasy, the concept of orgasm as a ‘petit mort’ or little death.

Félicien Rops, L’Agonie 1896




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