One foot raised on a rock, the better to show her shapely rump, the model turns toward the artist, one arm thrown protectively across her chest, and stares plaintively up to the night sky. Hunter’s Callisto – imagined before her transformation into Ursa Major – is a hybrid bear woman, one of the artist’s ‘chimeras.’ The assaulted women of the Metamorphoses provided artists with dramatic female subjects: they were sexualised, idealised even as they were shown under attack. “In 1977 I was giving lectures at art schools explaining the difference between sexism and eroticism, and it was really hard going,” Hunter told Caroline Osborne in an interview in 1984. “People were beginning to see through art history and see that some artists were just projecting male masturbatory fantasies, and their paintings were just soft porn illustrations after all.”
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