Return of the Triumphant Phallus


The Triumph of the Phallus (1700–1750).

More phallic culture. I posted the above engraving a couple of years ago, an unattributed copy of a drawing by Francesco Salviati (1510–1563) which shows in three panels a giant phallus being driven by a festive crowd towards an equally prodigious vaginal opening. (See the three panels in full here.) A few months after that post I wrote something about British underground artist Jim Leon and failed at the time to notice that Leon had reworked the Salviati procession for a painting used in issue 36 of Oz magazine (July 1971).


As is evident, here, the magazine editors carefully cropped Leon’s art to avoid stretching the patience of distributors and vendors. The complete work was printed over two pages inside but in a two-colour version which is less than satisfactory. This issue of the magazine also featured Leon’s far more incendiary Necrophilia piece which was the one I selected for my earlier post. What finally made me recognise the link between Leon and Salviati was a posting of Leon’s original painting on the Maggs Counterculture Tumblr (below).


Leon shortened the procession but follows the rest of the picture very closely. Given the reversal of Leon’s version it’s possible he may have traced an outline as a guide before starting work, some of the details are a precise match. Oz magazine, it should be noted, was aimed at a general readership yet frequently published erotic art by Leon and others in this kind of matter-of-fact manner, something that’s difficult to imagine anyone doing today outside the porn world. Think about that next time someone asserts that we’re living in an unprecedentedly over-sexed era. You can see the whole of Oz #36 here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Choise of Valentines, Or the Merie Ballad of Nash His Dildo
The art of Jim Leon, 1938–2002
The fascinating phallus
The Triumph of the Phallus
Le Phallus phénoménal
Phallic bibelots
The New Love Poetry
Phallic worship
The art of ejaculation

4 thoughts on “Return of the Triumphant Phallus”

  1. It’s similar to a lot of processional pictures of the time, the difference being that there isn’t usually a giant phallus being paraded anywhere.

  2. Is that what that thing is? I thought it was just a stage prop for Mick Jagger.

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