Document Type


Publication Date


Published In



Fertilization narratives are powerful biological stories that can be used for social ends, and 20th-century artists have used fertilization-based imagery to convey political and social ideas. In Danae, Gustav Klimt used an esoteric stage of early human embryos to indicate successful fertilization and the inability of government repression to stifle creativity. In Man, Controller of the Universe, Diego Rivera painted a mural of a man controlling an ovulating ovary, depicting Trotsky's view that society will rationally regulate human fertilization. His former wife, Frida Kahlo, refuted this view in Moses: Nucleus of Creation, wherein she painted images of fertilization and embryo formation as the ultimate acts of erotic consummation and generation.


This work is freely available courtesy of Leonardo / International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.

Included in

Biology Commons