Historic spanking art

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Historic spanking art is spanking art that is older than 100 years. The earliest known works of visual spanking art and mention of spanking in literature date back to the ancient high civilisations in Egypt, Greece, Rome, Israel, Persia and India.


Worker being punished, from the tomb of Menna, Egypt.

Visual spanking art from Antiquity is usually a factual and neutral documentation of corporal punishment as it was common in those days. Often it shows the chastisement of slaves or workers; occasionally also the beating or flogging of minors, e.g. by their teachers. Media used include painting, drawing, relief and sculpture.

The image to the right shows a supervisor beating a worker with a stick, from the tomb of Menna in Egypt, approximately 1400-1390 BC. Below is an even older similar scene from the tomb of Khîti at Beni Hasan, 21st to 19th century BC.

There is a wall painting from the Etruscan Tomba della Fustigazione (Italy) from the 6th century BC, which was named after this fustigation scene.

A fresco at Herculaneum depicts school corporal punisment: a teacher whipping a schoolboy. The boy, who is stripped nude except for his waistcloth, is horsed on the back of one other boy who holds his arms, while a third boy holds his feet so that he is completely suspended and cannot kick his legs during his punishment. Several other men and boys witness the scene.

Middle Ages[edit]

Illuminated initial from the Omne Bonum of Jacobus Anglicus (14th century).

Medieval spanking art, too, is usually a factual documentation of corporal punishment of the time, showing e.g. the public flogging or birching of criminals, or chastisement in monasteries and schools. While in the middle ages the art of sculpture, compared to antiquity, was on a much lower level, book illumination in monasteries was at a high level and first reproduction techniques for illustrations came up, such as the woodcut.


A school birching woodcut (M/m) from France (1526).
Cupid Punished by Venus, Giovanni Luigi Valesio, 17th century.

The woodcut to the left by an unknown artist shows a school birching scene. The disciple is laid over a birching block and two other boys hold his hands and feet. His garments are pushed up to expose the boy's bare bottom for his birching. He tries with one hand to cover his bottom from the strokes. The inscription reads initium sapientie timor domini - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10).

It seems Renaissance artists loved to depict particularly one spanking scene from greek-roman mythology: Cupid (also known as Eros or Amor), getting punished by his mother Venus, the goddess of beauty.

The first example is one of many artworks that shows the classic scene of Venus, the goddess of beauty, punishing her son, the winged Cupid who, to her displeasure, shoots arrows that make people fall in love. In this 17th century engraving by Giovanni Luigi Valesio, Venus uses a bunch of roses to "birch" Cupid while a satyr apparently tries to hold her back.

Venus giving Cupid a hand-spanking.

The image on the right shows another example of the same classic theme. In this lithography by an unknown artist, Venus gives her son an over-the-knee hand-spanking under a tree after she has broken his bow in two.

18th century[edit]

Penance, engraving by an unknown English artist, 18th century.
La Correction Maternelle ("Maternal Correction") by Étienne Aubry (1746-1781).
18th century illustration of an M/F birching.

This 18th century engraving from England shows a monk chastising a young woman who is on all fours (between his legs) on her bare bottom with a horsehair flogger for penance. By the way, it also shows an early example of a balloon very similar to those used in modern comics.

The image to the right is an etching or engraving after a painting by Étienne Aubry (1746-1781) and depicts "Maternal Correction": a mother chastises her son, who is made to kneel between her legs with his bottom bared, with a birch rod for having broken a vessel.

19th century[edit]

Der erste Schultag, painting by Johann Peter Hasenclever (1852).

In the 19th century, artists began creating spanking art cartoons that show an increasingly point-of-view approach, such as criticising the overuse of corporal punishment in parenting, or using the symbolism of spanking in political satire or humour.

There are also a few artworks in painterly style that depict spanking scenes, such as the school scene in the painting to the right from 1852.

The 19th century marks also the beginning of erotic spanking literature, notably in England and France, and the illustrations that came with this genre.

See also[edit]