Erotic depictions of women in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography from the dawn of man to the present.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

We hope you were well rewarded by the Easter Bunny!

Friday, April 18, 2014

8 million visits...and Jolanda Eggar

Yesterday Venus Observations passed 8,000,000 visits.  The last 500,000 of which were in just over two months.  As usual we will celebrate this milestone by finding some pictures of an undressed young lady from the country with the population closest to the number of views.

That country is Switzerland (pop. 7,997,000) and so we present Miss Jolanda Eggar, the only Playboy Playmate born in Switzerland.  She was Playmate of the Month for June 1983.  Given we have spent a lot of time today doing grubby work in clearing out the garage we have decided to feature Miss Eggar in some bathtime photos.  Who wouldn't want her to scrub your back at the end of the day?

The same month she was Playmate of the Month in German  Playboy but, unlike the US issue she went on to be German Playmate of the Year appearing in the June 1984 issue. 

Playboy Germany wasn't as coy as the US edition about getting its Playmates to display their charms on the cover of  the magazine in the mid-eighties.

Jolanda made a couple of very undistinguished films; one before and one after her Playboy appearance.  She lived in the Playboy Mansion for a year but was not one of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends, she later said.  Probably not blonde enough.

Later she was involved in motor racing and even raced Formula 3 cars.  She married fellow Swiss, Formula 1 racing driver, Marc Surer although they divorced seven years later and she is now on her third husband, who she married on her fiftieth birthday.  She is exactly three days older than Agent Triple P!

She was born in Luzern, a lovely city in Switzerland which Triple P first visited on one of the splendid steamers which the Swiss run across the lake.

A leggy 5' 8" tall she is a splendid example of Swiss womanhood and an excellent way to celebrate eight million views!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Venus with Pasta 4: ready for a taste

Time for another Venus with pasta.  We don't know where these pictures originate from but they remind us, in some ways, of our friend I, from Rome, who taught Triple P a lot about pasta dishes during the mid to late eighties until the early nineties when we spent a lot of time in Italy.  Although I was a blonde (ish) her figure was not dissimilar to this leggy young lady.

We can remember at least one incident where she cooked us dinner dressed just in an apron (although hers was a Playboy rabbit head one - oddly, Triple P's mother had one as well).  Triple P had been out running along the Via Appia Antica one morning, while training for the London Marathon.  Having done about ten miles he returned to I's apartment in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II to find her wandering about in her silk dressing gown looking elegantly lovely as usual.  Given we had only just got together we were still at a very intensive physical stage.  Aroused, she said, by Triple P's post-run healthy glow she pounced.  Six hours later, having missed lunch as a result of I's amorous advances, she agreed to knock up something for an early supper.  Donning her Playboy apron she soon put together a delicious bowlful of bucatini all'amatriciana.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Unshaven Venus: Aida Folch

Last night Triple P watched the Spanish film El artista y la modelo (2012) which he greatly enjoyed.  About an ageing sculptor (Jean Rochefort) working with a new young model on his last masterpiece it carried a lot of resonance for Triple P as regards the relationship between artists and model.

The model is played by Catalonian actress Aida Folch, who looks like a cross between Liv Tyler and Letitia Herod, Triple P's local supermodel.  She not only displays a luxuriant bush but also delightfully fluffy armpits as well.  The film is shot in luminous black and white, perhaps to stop you being completely overwhelmed by Miss Folch's naked body, which is on display much of the time.

Colour behind the scenes shot of Miss Folch in full-on fluff mode

Triple P has always been artistically inclined and contemplated going to art school at the recommendation of his art teachers.  You don't make money out of art unless you are very, very lucky so we decided to go to university instead and abandoned our formal art training.  Our school allowed us to do A level art at school (for an examination at the age of eighteen) even though we had given up studying it formally.

Since then we have spent many happy hours drawing naked women (we soon realised that there was little point in any other form of art - although we did do some pen and ink work of buildings) and indeed has started relationships with some of them purely on what was just an initial artist/model relationship.  A few years ago the results of a survey was published which said that artists had more sex with more women than people in any other job.  Whether this is because of a naturally sensitive disposition, an unconventional "creative" outlook or because drawing naked women is a key part of artistic training we don't know.  

Relationships developing between artists and there models are not uncommon as, for example, in the case of Egon Schiele and Wally Neuzil which we looked at in a previous post.  Many artists settle on one particular woman to act as their muse for many works, such as Sir William Russell Flint and Cecilia Green and Lord Leighton and Dorothy Dene.  In the film the artist's wife (played by an unrecognisable Claudia Cardinale) had been the sculptor's muse until this new young girl turned up in his village having fled from General Franco's Spain in the middle of World War 2.

The other area of resonance for Triple P is that the film is set in the Pyrénées-Orientales; that part of France on the Mediterranean end of the Spanish border.  Triple P used to go to the region on holiday every year from the age of four until he was thirteen.  Unlike another film of director Fernando Tueba's which we enjoyed, Belle Epoque (1992), which was set in Spain but filmed in Portugal, El artista y la modelo was filmed in the region although, oddly, largely on the Spanish side of the mountains.  The locals all like to regard the region as one unified Catalonia anyway.

Anyway, back to Miss Folch and her fluffy surfaces.  The director had informed her she would have to stop shaving for the part.  This is certainly something you wouldn't see in American TV or film (Barbara Carrera as an Indian squaw in the TV miniseries Centennial being a notable exception) but European actresses don't have a problem with it, as Penelope Cruz has demonstrated on several occasions.

As Triple P has mentioned before he has experienced the full gamut of armpit hair from white blonde (V) through bright orange (C) to blue black (P, who was Sicilian).  We don't recoil in horror at it as most Americans and young people in the UK do, as in the seventies and early eighties it was not unusual on young women in Britain.  They'd maybe tidy themselves up for the summer.  After all women didn't start to shave their armpits until Gillette made it an issue (which it absolutely hadn't been before) with women in the US, given the new sleeveless dresses in the nineteen twenties.  They just wanted to sell more razors.

The truth is that while it looks odd with very formal clothes (Julia Roberts at her red carpet incident a few years ago) when a woman is naked or casually dressed Triple P actually finds it positively sexy.  Provided, that is, that it isn't swamped in tongue shrivelling deodorant.  It's a mixture of "I don't care" and primitive earth mother, we suppose. Anyway we liked the soft quality of it when we had girlfriends displaying fluff: sliding your hands up from smooth, soft breasts to fluffy armpits created a delightful tactile cocktail.  The only issue we have is with the word "armpit" which is, as Monty Python would have said, a "tinny" word rather than a "woody" word.  If only there was a nice word analogous to "pussy"!
What we don't like is stubble, however, so all on or all off!

Finally, an oddity which sums up the difference between the US and UK on matters of film classification is that in the US this film is rated 'R'.  This means that an under seventeen attending has to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  This, the second highest rating in the MPAA system, is usually reserved for films with sexually oriented full frontal nudity.   Although there is  a lot of female full frontal nudity in the film it isn't sexual, there is no violence and no swearing.  So in Britain it has been classified as a '12' certificate. In France it was a 'U' (tous public) the same as, for example, a Disney animation.  In its home country of Spain it got a APTA rating "suitable for all audiences; the same as. for example Mary Poppins.  Of course, if it had no nudity but lots of violence it would have got a lower rating in the US.  We know that many Americans came from Puritan stock but, honestly, that was nearly four hundred years ago.  When are they going to realise that everyone is naked underneath their clothes and its not going to destroy the world!

Triple P was reminded of an incident in Boston's splendid Museum of Fine Arts. which he was visiting about eighteen months ago with his particular friend S, from Vancouver who, being half French, thinks that American views on nudity are quaint.  We were standing next to a renaissance painting of some naked cherubs in a painting of the Virgin Mary.  A group of schoolchildren of about eight or nine walked past and started saying "eew that's disgusting!"  To be fair the (woman) teacher replied with "no it's not, it's beautiful" but, honestly, something is going very wrong somewhere over there.

So let's celebrate the natural loveliness of Aida Folch in all her fluffy gorgeousness.  She is a fine actress too and we will look out for more films she appears in.

As for the film itself it's not as much fun as Belle Epoque and as an artist and model film it's not as good as La Belle Noiseuse (1991) but it's a pleasant way to spend an hour and forty minutes, especially with a bottle of rose wine and some olives.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Paperback Venus: Raven Swordsmistress of Chaos

As a teenager Agent Triple P was never a fantasy fiction reader preferring, on the whole, hard SF.   He was, however, in 1978 very interested in young women and illustration.  Illustrations of young women were, therefore, particularly interesting.  So he bought the novel Raven: Swordsmistress of Chaos on the basis of the cover picture alone, as the publishers no doubt intended.

The novel was a sort of sub-Red Sonja effort (although we hadn't read any Red Sonja novels at that point), commissioned at a time when a new series of Conan books had been successfully published in the UK.  Unlike Conan, however, Raven contained, excitingly, lashings of sex which you certainly didn't get in the science fiction we were reading at the time.  Author Richard Kirk was actually a pen name for two authors: Angus Wells (1943-2006) and the better-known Robert Holdstock (1948-2009).

Wells would go on to write the second novel in the series (also with Holdstock) and the third and fifth Raven novel on his own.  Holdstock would pen the fourth.  All had covers featuring their enticingly clad fantasy heroine by Chris Achilleos.  Despite producing five books in the series the story was left unfinished. 

Raven, was described breathlessly in the first book's introduction (the story is told in flashback):

"She was a woman, Raven! There are none like her today. Tall, she was; her hair as golden soft as the sun on a late summer evening. And her eyes blue as a mist-kissed sea pool, blue and green and grey mingled together in a manner that could suck the soul out of a man, if she chose. Though I’ve seen them red with blood and cold as the wind from the northern ice wastes. She was a woman you whelps might dream about, damping your blankets with the thought. She smiled as she killed, and if she chose a man, he went to the furs ready to die for sheer pleasure."

The full version of Raven: Lords of the Shadows demonstrates how Achilleos would sometimes paint more than the brief required to satisfy his own artistic standards.  In this case, regarding what he felt would be the most visually harmonious composition

Cover artist Chris Achilleos was born in Cyprus in 1947 but moved, with his family, to the UK in 1960 and started at Hornsey College of art in 1965, beginning to work in book illustration at the end of the sixties.  He produced all the other covers for the Raven books.

This version of the painting for Raven: A Time of Dying had to be altered in 1984 to cover up all the bare skin for a jigsaw puzzle version

These illustration appeared at the height of his book cover work from 1977-1978.  Unfortunately, despite the positive critical reaction to his work. commissions dried up from UK book publishers due to a slump in the SF and fantasy paperback market and partly because his very detailed paintings took a long time to produce). Achilleos kept himself employed by doing pin up paintings for Paul Raymond's Men Only.

Here is Achilleos' first attempt at a cover for Raven: A Time of Ghosts.  Maybe the publishers thought that the static pose was too similar to the cover of the first book and so asked for something featuring more action.

It eventually saw the light of day as the cover for the Uriah Heap album Fallen Angel in 1978.  The sleeve was a gatefold one with the image, unusually, being in a vertical, not horizontal, format.

Anyway, we thought of these Raven illustrations when we heard on the radio yesterday that Kate Bush was embarking on her first tour for thirty five years.  Just one year after her last concerts in 1979 the video for her single Babooshka contained this reinterpretation by Pamela Keats of the costume Achilleos featured in his original painting.

Agent Triple P remembers watching the video at the time and thinking "that's the Raven costume!"  Achilleos wasn't involved in the video but it is noticeable that he gets a credit for the design when the video is discussed today.  We suspect he wasn't contacted about it at the time!

When Roger Dean contacted Achilleos about producing a book of his illustrations in 1978 it was the first Raven image which was used on the cover, although poor Raven's bust was censored by a black star.