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Category Archives: Whorey

bawd, bimbo, cocotte, courtesan, floozy, harlot, hooker, hoochie, hussy, hustler, Jezebel, minx, prostitute, streetwalker, strumpet, tart, tramp, trollop, wench – in which Judith uses sexuality to attain her goal

Judith into the Woods

Yesterday I found a pretty basin.  Today, Andrii Bondart takes it into the woods to use it in his photo storyboard about Judith and Holofernes.

Judith, part I

Judith, part II

Judith, part III

Judith, part IV

Bondart is a young photographer from the Ukraine – trained in the UK as well as self-taught.  I can’t decide if he only knows mystically beautiful people or if he just has the skill to make everyone look mystically beautiful.  In this series, he depicts Judith as very earthy – almost blending in with the woodland surroundings – and quite isolated in her violence against Holofernes.  The concrete slab in which she sits in the last photograph is particularly atmospheric – resembling a coroner’s table or a sacrificial altar, and reflecting the harsh, cold nature of her action.

While Bondart’s Judith is spectacular, not all his themes are downers.  I was especially attracted to his other series of Fairytales, in which objects (and a few people) defy gravity. Lighten up and enjoy!

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Whorey

 

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Judith has a soft side

The Movie “50 Shades of Grey” premiered last week. I did not read the books nor have I yet seen the film. But Heidi Popovic seems to get the idea. Or should I say, Christian Pölzler gets the idea?

Judith and Holofernes is a series of images dedicated to the relationship between Holofernes, the baby panda, and Judith, his … trainer.

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Heidi Popovic, “Judith & Holofernes,” 2005, Pigment Screen on Paper, 70 x 100 cm, http://www.heidi-popovic.net

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Heidi Popovic, “Judith & Holofernes,” 2005, Pigment Screen on Paper, 70 x 100 cm, http://www.heidi-popovic.net

 

Heide

Heidi Popovic, “Judith & Holofernes,” 2005, Pigment Screen on Paper,  www.heidi-popovic.net

 

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Heidi Popovic, “Judith & Holofernes,” 2005, Pigment Screen on Paper, http://www.heidi-popovic.net

 

No, I do not type “Or should I say, Christian Grey gets the idea?”  I said Christian Pölzler – who is the alter ago of Heidi.  Pölzler’s style covers a variety of  themes and media.  On one end of the spectrum, he designs intricate patterns with imbedded images that form wallpapers and carpets – reminiscent of William Morris, if Morris had been kinky.  His graphics are typically brightly colored and highly stylized depictions that suggest a broader story of the characters.  I keep thinking of Hello Kitty and Lisa Frank graphics – for adults.

Among the inventive wallpapers and carpets, my spouse loves the homage to William Tell, namesake of his hometown …

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Heidi Popovic, “Wilhelm Tell,” 2012, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heidi-Popovic

 

… but not so much the other choices for the carpet.

 

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Heidi Popovic, Carpet, handmade Wool & Silk, 170 x 240 cm, In Cooperation with Harald Geba geba@geba.co.at and Bulldog Days, http://www.heidi-popovic.net

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Heidi Popovic, Carpet, handmade Wool & Silk, 170 x 240 cm, In Cooperation with Harald Geba geba@geba.co.at and Bulldog Days, http://www.heidi-popovic.net

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Heidi Popovic, Carpet, handmade Wool & Silk, 170 x 240 cm, In Cooperation with Harald Geba geba@geba.co.at and Bulldog Days, http://www.heidi-popovic.net

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Whorey

 

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Judith and Salome (again)

Urgh.  So frustrating.  She just won’t go away.  That pesky Salome is back. Again.

Judith () Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau

Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau (1869–1937), “Judith with the sword of Holofernes,” oil on canvas, 54 x 65 cm, Stair Sainty Gallery, London, UK

 

Depending on which source you consult, this painting is sometimes identified as Judith and sometimes as Salome.  Marcel-Béronneau did specifically paint Salome numerous times – as did his teacher, Gustave Moreau, at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts.  In fact, Moreau did over seventy drawings of Salome, including SalomeSalome Dancing before Herod and Salome Brandishing the Head of John the Baptist.   And he was not the only one who was obsessed with the biblical story of Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils to obtain the head of John the Baptist on a platter.

It was notably the symbiosis of art and literature at the turn of the century that developed the image of Salome as a femme fatale. Salome was depicted numerous times by artists such as Gustave Moreau and Aubrey Beardsley. Oscar Wilde wrote his one-act play Salome, originally written in French, to shock audiences with its spectacle of perverse passions. Wilde’s play in turn became the source and inspiration for Richard Strauss’s one-act opera Salome, first produced in 1905. Joris-Karl Huysmans wrote about Moreau’s 1876 Salome in his seminal novel A Rebours (Against the Grain) making Salome the object of his hero’s fantasies of feminine evil. At the same time, Gustave Flaubert wrote his novel Herodias, and Stephane Mallarme was working on a poem entitled Herodiade. (1)

Sex sells.

Salome with the head of john the baptist ()

Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau (1869–1937), Salome with the head of John the Baptist

Salome (  )

Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau (1869–1937), Salome

 

 

Salome (1934)

Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau (1869–1937), Salome, 1934

Salome the bird of prey ()

Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau (1869–1937), Salome the bird of prey

Salome ()

Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau (1869–1937), Salome, 1905

 

But Marcel-Béronneau gets credit for depicting more than just sex.   His work explored similar themes to that of Moreau (temptation, seduction, sensual pleasure, triumph, pain and death), but his treatment with thick impasto and broad brushstrokes was significantly different.  The style gives the appearance of mosaic or cracked ceramic, of texture and layers.

Although he followed Moreau with ornate scenes and “hypnotic” mythology and history along with the femme fatale, Béronneau’s later subjects more often appear strong and fierce – almost war-like.

 … Béronneau was equally fascinated by mythical landscape; his work presented the classical fables, mythologies and biblical stories in dream-like, utterly otherworldly contexts loaded with bright, seductive colour and layers of glazes, applied thinly to luminous effect.

The feminine, seen in such characters such as Salome, Herodias, Judith or St. Cecilia, is omnipresent in the work of Marcel Béronneau, but that feminine is often synonymous with threat or temptation. Though never evil creatures, Beronneau’s women often appear almost inhuman, and always fascinating. He makes the traditional attributes of these women pictorially literal – Leda becomes a ‘swan–woman’, Gorgon Medusa a ‘snake woman’ and the Sphinx half-female, half-leopard. (3)

This Judith (if she is Judith) exudes confidence in her direct gaze that confronts the viewer “with the same attitude history describes her: unquestionably empowered.” (3)  She is attired for battle with a headdress that looks like armor and a sword in her hands.   The hilt of the sword is a nude male figure, suggesting that Judith’s conflict was both in and out of Holofernes’ bed.

Another noticeable element of Marcel-Béronneau’s work:  the repeated use of the ethereal model, Germaine Marchant.  After falling deeply in love with her, Marcel-Béronneau painted her obsessively as his representation of the femme fatale and then married her in 1918.  In his depiction of Marchant, she appeared to have a face like Angelina Jolie – with a straight and symmetrical nose, wide lips in full pout, and heavily lidded eyes the color of pale green glass under arched brows.

But of course!  Who else should portray Judith?

Le Datura

Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau (1869–1937), Le Datura

Gorgon

Pierre Amédée Marcel-Béronneau (1869–1937), Gorgon

angelina-jolie

 

(1) Catalogue Note: Pierre-Amédée Marcel-Béronneau, Salome, 19th Century Paintings Including Spanish Painting And Symbolism & The Poetic Vision.  Sotheby’s, London, 4 November 2007 (Lot #263)

(2) Catalogue Note: Pierre-Amédée Marcel-Béronneau, Salome. Stair Sainty, London,

(3) Catalogue Note: Pierre-Amédée Marcel-Béronneau, Le Songe D’Orphee (Recto), Stair Sainty, London,

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Whorey

 

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Judith and the Pin-Up

As long as I was talking about pin-up art yesterday, it seems like a good time to share these inviting cards from Katie Hill, compliments of her friend and fellow graphic artist Erika Gibson.

Judith (2014) Katie Hill

Katie Hill, Judith & Holofernes, 2014, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/222928250279448312/

 

Pin-ups are drawings, paintings, and other illustrations that emulate photos of models who were public or available as sex symbols and their images were meant to be “pinned-up” on a wall.  They are considered idealized versions of what a beautiful or attractive woman should look like.  Think of Betty Grable, Bettie Page, the Vargas girls, and early Marilyn Monroe.

Let’s just say Judith appears to be pretty please with herself.  So who wouldn’t want to receive a greeting card with her assets displayed in order to share in her celebration?  Even if it means a little sacrifice from Holofernes.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2015 in Whorey

 

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Judith in a den of iniquity

I have never experienced an opium den, but I bet it feels like viewing the opulent, decadent, intoxicating illustrations of Vania Zouravliov. Without the withdrawal and risk of arrest.

Judith () Vania Zouravliov 1

“Russian-born Vania Zouravliov was inspired from an early age by influences as diverse as The Bible, Dante’s Divine Comedy, early Disney animation and North American Indians. Something of a child prodigy in his homeland, he was championed by many influential classical musicians including Ashkenazi, Spivakov and Menuhin. He even had television programs made about him and was introduced to famous communist artists, godfathers of social realism, who told him that his work was from the Devil.”

Judith () Vania Zouravliov 3

“By the age of 13, Vania Zouravliov was exhibiting internationally, visited Canterbury several times as well as Paris, Colmar and Berlin. He subsequently studied in the UK, and during this time began creating illustrations for The Scotsman and comics for Fantagraphics and Dark Horse in the US. His most recent projects have been for Beck’s The Information and National Geographic.” (1)

Judith () Vania Zouravliov 2

 

Many thoughts come pouring from these lavish lithographs, evoking connections to ancient myths, exotic locales, and inspiring artists of earlier times.  I feel a little like Joseph Campbell bringing in multiple elements from –

  • Japanese Ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world” — especially shunga or “picture of spring,” in which “spring” is a euphemism for sex — as portrayed by Utamaro in his depictions of courtesans
  • Orientalism, the mixture of languor, sex, violence, bondage and exoticism that is seen in the odalisque paintings of Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Léon Gérôme and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
  • Traditional Persian attire, with intricate textured fabrics and layers of jewels – topped by an elaborate turban.
  • Illustrative fairie tales of Arthur Rackham and Kay Rasmus Nielsen that layer delicate fantasies behind the routines of everyday life
  • Costuming for ballet, as typified by Leon Baskt’s creations of beauty in motion
  • Art NouveauxAubrey Beardsley comes immediately to mind with his black and white illustrations against a white background and his themes of perversion and erotica.  Alphonse Mucha’s blushing and haloed young women in flowing, Neoclassical robes, surrounded by a profusion of flowers.
  • Gothic tales, such as Harry Clarke’s illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination
  • Pin-up art, in which Gil Elvgren and Alberto Vargas celebrate the female form in positions to exaggerate and accentuate feminine sexual characteristics.
  • Erotica, which hovers along the mutable border of respectful admiration of the beauty of sex and the pornographic perversion of submission and suffering.  You will have to be the judge, like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart who said “I know it when I see it.”

It’s all a little overwhelming – but a source of endless flights of imagination.

The Head () Vania Zouravliov

(1) Big Active, Illustration: Vania Zouravliov.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Whorey

 

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Judith needs a List

Wilhelm List is hard to pin down.

FIRST,  there are two infamous men with the name Wilhelm List.

  • Wilhelm List the Painter (1864-1918) was an Austrian, one of the twelve illustrators of the 1902 catalogue for the Viennese Secession dedicated to Beethoven.
  • Wilhelm List the Field Marshal (1880-1971) was a German commander of the 14th Army that invaded Poland, the 12th Army that invaded Greece and Yugoslavia, and was convicted of reprisal killing of hostages in retaliation for partisan activity during the Hostages Trial – for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

While it is possible that Wilhelm List the Field Marshal developed a talent for painting while incarcerated with time on his hands, it is more likely that this painting is the work of List the Painter.

Judith () Wilhelm List

Wilhelm List (1864–1918), “Judith und Holofernes ,” oil on cardboard, 37 x 35 cm, auctioned 27 Apr 2006 (Lot #679)

 

SECOND, the selection of Judith with a severed head as a theme is most unusual for Wilhelm List the Painter.  Most of his works of art are so  …  uplifting.  Angels and saints, mothers and babies, flowers and trees, puppies and kittens.

Comparable to Alphonse Osbert and Gustav Klimt, he revealed himself as a remarkable portraitist, as shown in ‘The Woman in black and white’, where his technique of divided colours and fine long brush strokes, with a dominance of blue, evokes the works of Edmond Aman-Jean during the same period. (1)

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Woman in Black and White

the of s

The Offering

A Night Fairy

A Night Fairy

Daylight and Twilight

Daylight and Twilight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose I will let the influence of The Secessionists explain List’s selection.  You may recall I touched on the Viennese Secession when I first landed on Gustav Klimt (“Judith goes for Gold,” November 15, 2011).  Klimt formed the Vienna Secession in 1897 with a group of Austrian artists (Moser, Hoffmann, Olbrich, Kurzweil, Bernatzik, Wagner) – with the purpose to object to copying historic styles by resigning from the Association of Austrian Artists and to create a new style was no from historical influence.  The Secession was part of a larger movement in art known today as Jugendstil or Art Nouveau. Although there was no unifying style, many chose the female body as their primary subject, portrayed with traditional allegory and symbolism.

Thus among the angels and saints, Judith was a popular subject for Secessionists dues to her rebellious spirit and her use of feminine wiles to exert her power.  List depicts her in murky tones, on her knees  as if she is worshipful or expressing gratitude to Holofernes’ severed head.  It obviously does not repel her or inspire fear; instead her bowed head suggests a demeanor of respect.

So is that what it has come to? Judith saying “I know it was violent and all – not exactly what you had in mind for the evening – but thanks for giving me your head so I can scare off the rest of your army.”  Well … sure … if you were raised to be really polite and feel there is no time like the present.

Personally, I would be content to share those thoughts AFTER the head was on a spike on the city wall.

 

(1)  Julia Kerr, Wilhelm List Biography, www.artmagick.com

And if you have further interest in Wilhelm List (the Painter, not the Filed Marshal), there are several nice digital displays of his work:

Wikigallery, Wilhelm List

The Athenaeum, Wilhelm List – Artworks

Seeking Beauty, Wilhelm List (Austrian ,1864-1918) (Nov. 8th, 2014)

Terry Prest, St Elizabeth of Hungary, idlespeculations-terryprest.blogspot.com

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Whorey

 

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Judith climbs the wall

What better way to make a get away from the camp: out the window, onto the balcony and over the wall!

Three things I love about Soiman’s fresh and novel interpretation of Judith’s story:

  1. The attitude of Judith, looking up at the viewer as if she has been interrupted in her crime and her escape.  The intense gaze that is both surprised (“What ..? Are you going to stop me and sound an alarm? Or are you going to help me out of this mess?”) and aggressive (“I already decapitated one general tonight.  Do you think I will stop there?”)
  2. The thin drops of crimson blood that trickle from her russet curls and her exposed nipple – almost undetected. (“Nothing to see here.  Just another naked redhead out for a stroll.”)
  3. The little flies upon the wall. Annoying but adding ick to the carnage. Witness to the unfolding drama but unnoticed and able to dart away.

Both elements leaving me with the optimistic feeling that she will accomplish her escape – and be the victor in her mission.

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Soiman, “Judith,” 2012, oil on canvas, 80×100 cm, private collection

 

 

Fortunately, the artist has a blog written some in English, some in Spanish, some in Hungarian.  The blog is intended to satisfy the curiosity of people like me – who don’t always understand – so as Soiman says (through Google Translate) “why not share it in my head humming melodies, the palate tickling my taste, as they have contributed to the birth of an image in the same way. I hope that if I present the creative process tastes, melodies, the scent through, then the painting seems less strange or abstract, since the palette is just concocts.” 

Okay, maybe my translation is not so great.  The good news is that the English description of the creative process for Judith is very insightful.

This painting is a modernized adaptation of this biblical scene, although there isn’t any description about Judith throwing the head out of the window, but I found interesting this moment as a composition. I saw a Ruud Voerman photo which inspired me a lot, both the composition and the character of the model.

The_Balcony__by_Miuaw1

I’ve been thinking about painting a Judith for many years, but I didn’t know how to present her character to be really cruel and charismatic without the bloody scene of swords and murder. Finally my concept was representing her after the homicide as a rigid beauty, so hiding the right side: in an intimate and immaculate milieu, but hiding the left you get the brutal part of the story with depressing elements. (Hopefully) you can perceive this contrast also hiding a side of her face, this tender imagery with delicate features on the left, and the bestial expression on the right.

Oh, bestial. That’s a word I had not applied to Judith before.  Deadly, deceptive, aggressive, scheming, ruthless, remorseless, murderous – yes. Savage, brutish, brutal, barbaric, cruel, carnal, vicious, violent, inhuman, unfeeling – maybe.  Callous, cold-blooded, hard-hearted, harsh – probably.  But bestial? I don’t know …  I’m going to have to think about that …

 

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Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Whorey

 

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