In his Antiquity series, Jeff Koons revisits themes of eros, libido, fertility and feminine beauty as represented throughout the history of art. The series combines images that depict Greco-Roman sculptures as well as paintings of a more contemporary, photo-realist type of feminine beauty, like that of actress Gretchen Mol posing as the famous pinup Bettie Page.
The unifying image across the series is a seemingly child-like drawing of a sailboat under the sun passing between two hills, rendered here in foil-stamped copper. It is another example of Koons fondness for double entendres as the drawing can also be seen as the outline of Courbet’s voyeuristic painting L’Origine du monde. L’Origine du monde is a direct provocation of our reluctance to acknowledge and accept realistic depictions of our innermost desires.