"The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Men That They Were Fair" (1923) by Daniel Chester French is the sexiest statue in Washington, hard as it tries not to be. A beautiful young woman with a perfect body and no clothes is passionately embracing a beautiful young man, also naked, but you are not to imagine what's about to happen. The sculpture -- in the Corcoran Gallery of Art -- does not allow impure thoughts, only pure ones. Its title is from the Bible (Genesis 6:2). The piece isn't flesh-colored: It is made of cold white marble and therefore it is Art. The man has miniature genitals and huge wings to show that he has risen way beyond the bodily. His lover rubs the back of her left calf with her right big toe the way kissing girls used to do in the movies, but French, ignoring this, said that he had taken the form of his statue from an American national monument, from Old Faithful, the geyser in Yellowstone National Park -- and what could be less lascivious? French (1850-1931) was really good at monuments. It was he who gave Washington the great seated Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial.
-- Paul Richard
"The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Men That They Were Fair" stands on the second-floor landing at the rear of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 17th Street and New York Avenue NW. The museum, which is closed on Tuesdays, is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission for adults is $5.