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

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ukrainian Venus: Olga Kurylenko

No apologies for reprinting these pictures of Ukrainian super babe Olga Kurylenko, the new Bond girl from Quantum of Solace. A direct descendent, no doubt, of the Trypilian people she would make a fine shamaness in a thatched long house.

Suddenly leaping into the top three of Band girls (some say even number one) we really feel that words are totally redundant in her case.

Ukranian Venuses: the Trypilians

Agent Triple P has just attended a facinating exhibition in the Royal Ontario Museum about the mysterious Trypilian people of around 7000 years ago. They lived in what is now Ukraine, Moldova and Romania. They built uniquely large settlements for the time; numbering hundreds of houses and produced the most sophisticated neolithic pottery known.

There were several female "Venus" figures. We liked the ones who seemed to be pushing their breasts up and the slim enigmatic later one (Circa 3,500 BC).

An artist had been commisioned to produce some fine paintings of what Trypilian villages must have looked like but we think that he was letting his imagination run wild with this painting of a Trypilian priestess!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Russian Venus: Kseniya Sukhinova Miss World 2008

Congratulations to boffo boffin Kseniya Sukhinova for being voted in as Miss World yesterday. It's all (theoretically) democratic now, with everything being done by telephone vote from 180 countries rather than having a panel of TV stars, footballers and the terrifying Morleys deciding the fate of the quivering Misses from around the World as in the old days.

Agent Triple P used to enjoy Miss World on television but then there was all the nonsense about it being sexist (er, yes) and there were protests in the UK, largely organised by the father of one of our classmates (he became the most unpopular boy in the school, briefly!). It slid off mainstream TV and has ended up on satellite, usually held in South Africa for some reason. Actually, this year's contest was supposed to be in the Ukraine but obviously they didn't want to have to give the girls Kevlar swimsuits so moved to the sun of South Africa again.

Kseniya shows her form in last year's qualifying Miss Russia contest.

21-year-old Kseniya wants to be a supermodel but not until she has finished her engineering degree at the Tyumen Oil and Gas University in northwestern Siberia. (we would venture she really appreciated the sun at this time of year!). She could work on Triple P's rig or adjust our valves any day.
Kseniya's model card. We'd hire her!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hungarian Venus: The Corner of the Studio by István Csók

Corner of the studio

Here we have some paintings by the Hungarian painter István Csók who went through many different painting styles in his long lifetime.  One of the best ways to appreciate this evolution style is to look at his painting The Corner of the Studio the subject of which he returned to a number of times.  This is the original painting from 1905 which features the artist, reflected in a mirror, painting a sinuously posed girl.

The studio in question is the one he had in Paris at the time.and here is a photograph, taken in 1903, of Csók in it.  The table he is lying on appears to be the same piece of furniture he has posed the model on in the painting.

This picture looks like a detail but is, in fact, a completely different work (as can be seen from the drapery) and shows how Csók sometimes isolated the model in some versions of the picture.  It is a lovely pose but must have been difficult for the model to hold, with her trunk twisted, for very long.

Here is another, later version with a different mirror and although the girl's face is the same she now has red hair.  It is altogether looser and brighter than the original.

This is another, even looser ,version with a much simpler mirror and less ornate fabrics. It isn't known if Csók actually used a model and painted from life for each version of the painting or just copied his own painting.  As the girl looks the same and they were painted many years apart we suspect the latter.

In this one the position of the curtain is more like the original but the background wall hanging is different again.  The flowers in the foreground are quite different in every way so it is possible the artist painted everything except the girl from life.

This one is the loosest of them all and Csók dispenses with his reflection completely, just focussing on the girl alone, once more.  Her body is just a small element amongst a colourful swirl of a much bigger floral arrangement and an almost abstract background.

Csók was born in 1865, in the region of Hungary near Lake Baloton, the son of a miller.  He studied in Budapest, Munich and Paris between 1882 and 1889.  The following year, his first major painting won a gold medal at the Paris Salon. In 1895 he produced his best known picture, a painting of Erzsébet Báthory (1560-1614), the Hungarian Countess accused of killing hundreds (possibly as many as 600) of young women. Eventually she was walled up in a set of rooms in her own castle, where she died four years later, before a trial could be organised.

Her behaviour sparked legends that she bathed in virgin's blood to keep her looks. Something that Hammer films happily depicted in Countess Dracula (1971) starring the magnificent Ingrid Pitt as the countess. In the opening of the film the credits are shown over the Báthory painting by Csók, showing the countess watching the torture of young girls in the snow by dousing them with cold water so they froze to death.  Csók certainly caught the sexual evil of the countess in his painting.

This photograph shows the artist in his studio painting the Countess Bathory picture in 1895.  This gives a good idea of its monumental size.

Unfortunately the original picture was lost during World War 2 and now only a colour sketch survives.

Vampires (1907)

Csók got married and moved to Paris in 1903; living  there for the next seven years.  While living there he rtirned to the theme of evil women with his erotically disturbing painting Vampires which offered up his typically writhing women, bloodstained lips, red roses and lesbian tinged neck biting.


He moved back to Hungary in 1910 where he focussed on nudes, landscapes and cityscapes of Budapest,  He became a professor at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts.

Again. here are two versions of the same subject; a young redheaded girl, paiunted some years apart.  He entitled this Honi soit qui mal y pense simultaneously presenting this naked young creature while admonishing the viewer not to think impure thoughts.  Hmm.

Susanna (1920)

Here is a late Renoiresque bather from the twenties.  Csók started to have major exhibitions of his work around the world: Rome in 1914, San Francisco (1917), London (1922) and Pittsburgh (1926),  In addition there were major exhibitions in Budapest in 1914, 1935 and 1955.

Model in the studio (1933)

This one moves away from the studio nude to something rather more titillating with his model pulling on her black stockings.  The picture features another of Csók's characteristic mirrors and reflected in it you can see the painting the model was posing for.

Csók lived long enough to supervise the major retrospective of his work in Budapest in 1955 and died six years later just short of his 96th birthday.