In the essay, “Man Ray’s Disarming Venuses: Deconstructing the Classical Torso in Surrealist Photography,” the author, Kirsten A. Hoving, examines photographs created by Man Ray and how it relates to the classical Venus sculptures. By using Man Ray’s idea of deconstructing the classical female torso in fragments, body doubling corsets, and formless figures, the author argues how those characteristics communicate the meaning of eroticism and power within Surrealist photography and literature.
Within the first argument, the author explains how the Surrealist artists drew their inspiration of the female torso from the ancient mythological god, Venus. Hoving noted that the artists explored ways which the human body can appear as fragments and how it could be used systematically. Hoving stated how the Surrealist found the female torso as a “metaphor and metamorphosis”(123). The Surrealist artist went further through the exploration of the human figure, and shocking the viewers in their depiction of mutilated, or distorted bodies. In the 1930s, such visions have had provided the artist due to the horrors that were placed upon World War I veterans, as they were left limbless or using prosthetics.
Hoving provided an example of physical deformity depicted in art. She talked about how one of Man Ray’s photographs of Lillian Strauss. To support his argument, Hoving discusses how Man Ray achieved the beauty of physical deformity by deconstructing the human body and turn it into