Controversial artworks are created either purposely, made to court controversy or unintentionally, provoking the audience, all thanks to their perceived blasphemy, offensiveness, lewd language, or obscene depiction. It is evident throughout the entire history of art.
Controversial artworks cut across the whole media gamut, as they can be seen in early paintings, architectural designs, and even engravings. You will find controversial performance art, installation art, sculptures, and photography, as well as conceptual and avant-garde art.
Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment (circa 1536-1541) and Gustave Courbet’s Origin of the World (1866) are perhaps the most notable controversial art pieces.