While most of the people associate rather negatively the prostitutes, some of them are historical figures who inspired and made remarkable contributions to the society in many aspects. Since ancient times, when they had important roles in religious rituals and worked as servants in temples, until today when their purpose is simplified just to satisfy the passion for carnal pleasures, the sex traders have had doubtlessly a positive impact on the world.
Below in the article is a compilation of notable courtesans and valuable for the socety inheritance, inspired or made by prostitutes.
Fado is the Portuguese national music. The legend says that the style was born from the sad and tragic love between a wealthy aristocrat and a gypsy prostitute, who was moaning about her lost love under the accompaniment of a broken guitar.
The fate of the fado is getting more interesting after 1928 when the governing power in Portugal is taken by a military regime and the style officially is chosen as national for the state. On one side this type of music received a huge stage but on the other, it has been profoundly damaged by the censure of the new command. However, listening nowadays fado I feel as a gentle embrace, full of love and compassion, able to reach the furthest sides of the soul.
Throughout the history, many notable artists have been influenced by prostitutes. They have used courtesans for models and muses in their works. Some of the collaborations are real masterpieces that decorate the greatest art galleries, museums and private collections in the world. I picked 5 of my favorites below:
Belle by Anonymous sculptor
The statute ‘Belle’ is placed on the Dutch square Oudekerksplein, the beating heart of the red light district in Amsterdam, in order to respect sex workers all over the world.
Rolla by Henri Gervex
His painting received a rejection for immorality by the jury of Salon de Paris, but ‘Rolla’ is one of Gervex’s best artworks. He was inspired by the scene of a prostitute after sex with a client from the poem by Alfred de Musset
Les Demoiselles D’Avignon by Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso is the star of the painting, his African-influenced period starts with the picture ’Les Demoiselles d’Avignon ‘, portraying 5 prostitutes from a brothel in Barcelona.
Sien by Vincent van Gogh
Beside to cut off his ear and giving it as a present, van Gough gained inspiration from prostitutes to paint and draw beautiful images.
Olympia by Édouard Manet
Édouard Manet is another world known artist who used a prostitute for a model. The video explains how significant work Olympia is.
Georgina is a politician from New Zealand, she is a former prostitute and the first transsexual mayor and member of the parliament in the world. In her active political career 1994-2004, she made a prominent name of fighter for human rights and genders equality.
Empress Theodora co-ruled the Byzantine Empire for 21 years along with her husband Justinian I, but before she was renowned prostitute and stripper in Constantinople. Historically, she is a strong leader, helping the poor and defending the rights of the women. A great example that the rule from the chess every pawn can promote to a queen applies in reality.
Xaviera Hollander is the most famous prostitute with the fact that she was a prostitute. The popularity came after publishing the bestseller ‘The happy hooker’. Her story was used for series of movies: The Life and Times Hollander, The Happy Hooker, The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood, and The Best Part of a Man. Nowadays, she is happily married, enjoying a peaceful life in Amsterdam.
Margaretha Geertruida “Margreet” MacLeod was a prostitute recruited for a spy from Germany during World War I, died tragically, executed by the French police. She is a legend in the popular culture and a stereotype for a fatal woman. Her life is depicted in plenty of movies among them are Mata Hari, James Bond and The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.
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