Lingerie provides the underpinning of some of the world’s most provocative paintings, sculptures and photographs.

The female nude — perhaps the most enduring subject in the history of art. It has provoked, inspired and scandalized for centuries. But add on a few gauzy or frilly underthings and those emotions can skyrocket. Just look at the late-18th-century work of French painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The most famous of his naughty Rococo paintings, "The Swing" (1766), pictures a young woman on a tree-swing being ogled from below by a nobleman. She is fully dressed in a flounced corseted pink number, the skirts kicked up to reveal her underwear. She sports pantaloons — drawers that open at the crotch — but manages to show off only her covered legs.

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