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

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Our first naked Venus - forty years ago this week

Agent Triple P was sorting out some old photographs this weekend when he came across some taken on a family holiday in Menorca in July 1975. Agent Triple P has always been a visual person and, as you can no doubt tell from these pages, an appreciation of visual representations of women has always been one of our defining characteristics.

It is difficult, back through the mists of time, to remember a particular photograph of a naked woman as being our first. One we do remember was of Swedish actress Julie Ege, preparing for her appearance in a new film, who was photographed on an island in the Bahamas in 1972.  There was a double page spread, from which this photograph comes, illustrated with pictures of her topless or naked on the beach.  I think it came from the News of the World Sunday newspaper which Triple P's father occasionally bought.  We were so enamoured of this picture that the twelve year old Triple P cut it out and it formed the beginning of what would become our extensive collection. 

We can't remember the first full-frontal nude photograph we saw but have a suspicion that it was not, as you might think, in one of our father's Mayfair or Penthouse magazines but was in something like the Sunday Times magazine. This groundbreaking colour supplement to the premier British Sunday newspaper was quite nude friendly in the early seventies and quite often had photographic nudes supposedly for fashion, artistic or scientific reasons.  We remember one in particular of a head on shot of a black girl and a white girl standing next to each other illustrating a piece (we think) on physical differences between the races.  We remember being struck by the beauty of them both and excited beyond belief that they were presented in their natural state in such a manner.

After the Bath (1888)

Our first artistic female nude is more firmly imprinted on our memory, however. Triple P’s father had a book (still in our possession) called The Female Nude in European Painting by JL Vaudoyer. This consisted of, largely, black and white illustrations of old master and impressionist paintings but also contained eight colour plates. One of these, a Renoir nude, After the Bath, remains one of Triple P’s top three favourite nude paintings.  It just seems to sum up, as Renoir was so good at, femininity.  It certainly contributed to our initial attraction to redheads in the late seventies.

Laraine Stephens in The Thousand Plane Raid

On screen, one of our earliest memories of female nudity was a brief nipple flash by Laraine Stephens in a love scene in B movie, The Thousand Plane Raid (1969) when it was shown on TV in the early seventies which, we recall, caused great excitement the next day at school. We also remember a luminous Kika Markham’s performance in Dennis Potter’s TV play Double Dare (1976). At the time this was considered to have some of the strongest love scenes seen in a British TV drama, although they look very tame today. 

Kika Markham in Double Dare

We were a rather a late starter as regards cinema, other than the annual trip to the latest James Bond film.  We always enjoyed Maurice Binder’s title sequence girls who always seemed to be showing a bit more than they should but actually never really did.  The essence of tease, in fact.

Ava Cadell in The Golden Lady

The first X certificate film (not as racy as the US classification) we saw at the cinema was Alien (1979). The first full-frontal naked woman we saw at the cinema was not until university when we went to see the dire The Golden Lady, a British erotic thriller (it was in a double bill with seventies classic SF spoof Flesh Gordon which was the film we really wanted to see but had to sit through The Golden Lady (1979) first, unfortunately). The lady in question, walking nonchalantly naked towards the camera, was Hungarian lovely Ava Cadell, now Dr Ava Cadell, a well known American-based clinical sexologist. At that time she was a regular model in men's magazines. 

Cala Galdana July 1975

All of these experiences were by now tempered by the fact that we had now experienced our first naked women in real life. It didn’t lessen our enjoyment of visual reproductions but did make us realise that real ones were far superior and so deserved extra attention and, indeed, effort, to realise them! 

We were on holiday in Menorca in the summer of 1975 staying at an hotel in an attractive bay called Cala Galdana. Whilst Triple P’s sister and mother had a nice room with a balcony overlooking the spectacular bay (see the picture we took, above) we had to make do with a dark room at the rear of the hotel overlooking the air conditioning units; the usual fate of those who stay in holiday hotels on their own.   

In the room across the corridor, also with the view, were a couple of teenage German sisters (we assumed they were sisters, they only seemed to be attached to one family). We had already observed these two on the beach the very first day as they were both remarkably pretty. The older one (we also assumed, as she was taller and seemed to be bossier) had long, dark blonde hair and a rather elfin face. She wore very bright cherry red lipstick and blue eye make-up (it was the mid seventies!) and had long legs and a pert but small bust. In fact it says much for our rather unsophisticated taste at the time that we dismissed her as not worthy of our attention precisely because she had a small bust. Proper women in swimsuits, as The Sun and the Sunday Express used to demonstrate, had big busts. We can still remember perusing our mother’s Sunday newspaper of choice, whilst she cooked Sunday lunch and listened to Round the Horne, to see which gratuitous but tastefully covered, lovely they featured that week (many of these girls joined my growing collection - we had to progress from a document wallet to a filing box, which we kept at the back of our wardrobe). The older girl seemed rather aloof but anyway we were drawn to her “sister”. The younger girl was a lighter blonde, and a real blonde as her body seemed to be covered in tiny blonde hairs. They were on her arms, her thighs, her stomach and back. She had a lovely golden tan (her sister had gone that horrible walnut colour). She had short hair cut exactly as the lady in the photograph at the top of this post. We happily wiled away two weeks covertly (we hoped) observing these two lovelies as they frolicked in the sea, read their books on the beach and, particularly, applied suntan oil to each other’s lithe, Teutonic bodies. 

One afternoon we had returned to our room as it had got too hot to stay on the beach. We had noticed that several rooms had opened their doors in an attempt to channel the breeze through, as the air conditioning had packed up.  I knew this as there were men working on it outside our window.  We settled down in our hot, gloomy room to read the book we had brought with us (the James Bond pastiche Colonel Sun).  After an hour or so Triple P decided to go and visit his family and take advantage of their balcony.  

We opened the door to the corridor and stepped through at precisely the moment that the younger German girl emerged from her bathroom; the door to which was next to the open door onto the corridor. She was completely naked except for a towel around her head. She turned to look at Triple P and just stood there, her hand on the door knob. We noticed droplets of water running down her body and her strong tan lines. She had erect nipples and her body was covered in goosebumps. It occurred to us that perhaps she had just had a cold shower. What really caught our attention, in that brief moment which, nevertheless, seemed to be proceeding in slow motion, was the golden floss at the apex of her thighs. The forbidden zone! She was quite unembarrassed and looked at us, evenly. Triple P had frozen to the spot and we knew that we had to move, as it was like being transfixed by a predatory animal. She just stood there. Dripping. She smiled. We ran; slamming our door shut and scooting down the corridor in adrenaline propelled haste. Seeing our first lovely naked girl was one thing, having her attempt to make contact was another! 

Sadly, we didn’t see her again. We left to return to England the next day. She made an indelible impression and we can still remember every moment of the tableau, forty years later.  We picked out the picture at the top of this post purely because she reminded us of the German sister so much.  She may just have given us a little bit more confidence for our next interaction with a young lady, five and a half months later; on New Year’s Eve 1975.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Sailing Venus by Gil Elvgren

More Venuses on the horizon!

We are sorry for the lack of posts over the last month.  This has been caused by Triple P's new job but also, mainly, by watching three hour recordings of the Tour de France every night!  In addition, for the last week, we have been down at Cowes for a sailing regatta and have only just returned.  

We need to post a lot more Venuses in the coming weeks and to start us off here is an appropriately nautical example by Gil Elvgren.  This is a later example of his work and is entitled Splendid View (or sometimes Out to Sea) and dates from 1960.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Iman for eleven million views

Well, we were so busy in our new job that he hadn't noticed that we had just passed the eleven million views milestone.  The country with the closest population to eleven million is Somalia.

Here, then, is the most famous Somali woman, Iman, model, actress (memorably in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country) and wife of David Bowie.  The 5'10" tall Iman will be sixty later this month,  Her father was a diplomat and the Somali ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

These pictures were all shot by Helmut Newton back in the nineties and utterly magnificent she looks too.

Today she concentrates on running her successful cosmetics company which focusses on those with ethnic skin colouring as she had problems finding the right products when she was a model.

This shot is the only one here not by Newton and comes from the January 1986 edition of Playboy.  It is by American photographer Peter Beard, who discovered her when she was a student at the University of Nairobi.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Personally Selected Venus 8: Girls in a boat by Harry Holland

Two weeks worth of supplies?

We are sorry for the lack of posts of late but Triple P has recently changed jobs and is finding life time rather consuming as a result.  Still, our friend S in Vancouver sent us this image today, which we liked so much we decided to post it here.  We haven't been able to find out anything about it or where it came from but it chimes with an idea, we have been thinking about for some time, of writing an erotic tale of Jason and the Argonauts, where Jason and his crew would all be women.  Iaso was the Greek Goddess of healing (Jason means healer) so we would probably call her that.  

Apart from the fourteen lovely ladies, the whole premise behind the picture is intriguing. The poses are all rather theatrical and somewhat reminiscent of Victorian classical painting.  Splendid, anyway!

PS Thanks to those of our readers who have identified it as the work of talented British painter Harry Holland.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Venus in Black Stockings 13: Laura Antonelli 1941-2015

Triple P had already selected a few pictures for our next Venus in Black Stockings post, so was saddened to discover that the subject of that post, the gorgeous Italian actress Laura Antonelli, was found dead today at the age of 73.

These stupendous shots (above), which say pretty much everything there is to say about Italian women and black stockings, come from her breakthrough film Malizia (1973), where she plays a housekeeper whose presence causes havoc in the home of a widower and his three sons.  It immediately cemented her sex symbol status in Italy.

Born Laura Antonaz, in Pola, then in Italy but now in Croatia, her Italian father took the family, like 300,000 other Italians living in the region, to Italy when Marshal Tito came to power in Yugoslavia in 1947.  Considered by her family to be an ugly, clumsy teenager she did ballet and gymnastics to tone up and, despite wanting to be a maths teacher, ended up teaching gymnastics in Rome.

It was in Rome where she met people from the film industry which led to her first screen role in 1964.  She was mesmerisingly beautiful in Venus in Furs (1969), the first film Triple P saw her in. She made a number of films in the seventies and eighties, erotic comedies and more serious art films, many of which saw her revealing her splendid figure.

In 1991 the police broke into her house outside Rome and discovered 33 grammes of cocaine and she fought a ten year legal battle to overturn her three and a half year prison sentence for drug dealing.  She had a series of unsuccessful relationships, botched plastic surgery procedures ruined her looks and she withdrew from public life, living in the seaside town of Ladispoli, where her body was discovered by her cleaning lady in her house early this morning.  It is not clear how long she had been dead for.  Latterly, she had become very religious and gave much of the compensation she was awarded, when her conviction for drug dealing was overturned, to charity.  She lived in poverty for the rest of her life, resisting the attempts of others to raise money for her.  We prefer to remember her in her prime as shown in this picture for Playboy Italia from November 1980, where she is still magnificent at the age of nearly forty.

Laura Antonelli November 1941-June 2015