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France. Ile-de-france Department. Paris. Orsay Museum. Two elderly women with grey hair look at the painting, L'Origine du Monde, by Gustave Courbet. L'Origine du monde (The Origin of the World) is an oil-on-canvas painted by French artist Gustave Courbet in 1866. It is a close-up view of the genitals and abdomen of a naked woman, lying on a bed with legs spread. The framing of the nude body, with head, arms and lower legs outside of view, emphasizes the eroticism of the work. Eroticism is generally understood to refer to a state of sexual arousal or anticipation of such an insistent sexual impulse, desire, or pattern of thoughts, as well as a philosophical contemplation concerning the aesthetics of sexual desire, sensuality and romantic love. 04.11.09  © 2009 Didier Ruef