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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fantasy Venuses: Frank Frazetta

Cat girl (1984)

Agent Triple P has only just discovered that the fantasy artist Frank Frazetta died about three weeks ago at the age of 82. In most artistic genres there is always healthy debate about who was best at this and who was best at that; rightly, as tastes and key factors relating to appreciation vary from person to person. Agent Triple P would be surprised, however, if the vast majority of people who appreciate fantasy art wouldn't acknowledge Frank Frazetta as the finest fantasy artist of the last fifty years. Many would say finest fantasy artist ever but Agent Triple P thinks there is a strong case for Arthr Rackham there. Nevertheless, despite coming from a comic books background, his loose and impressionistic paintings changed the style of fantasy art forever. He was much imitated but never surpassed. Famous for his outrageously muscled barbarians his women were, in contrast, soft and rounded like overripe fruit.

The Moon's Rapture (1987)

Frazetta was born in Brooklyn, New York and started to draw at the age of two. By the time he was eight he was enrolled in the Brooklyn School of Art and by the age of sixteen was already working professionally on comic books. After years of tight, comic style illustration Frazetta really made an impact with his cover paintings, done in oils, for a re-issue of Robert E Howard's Conan books in the mid sixties. Dark, brooding, impressionistic, brutal and often filled with horrible things they changed the nature of fantasy illustration overnight. Recently, one of these became the first of his paintings to sell for over $1 million.

Saber-tooths (1977)

He also changed the way that book cover artists were treated: insisting on the return of his originals rather than having them sold or thrown away by uncaring publishers and insisting on the acknowledgement of copyrights. The series of books of his work published in 1975 were the first time a popular, commercial genre artist had had a book devoted to his work. This spawned a whole industry devoted to publishing fantasy artists' portfolios that is still going strong today.

Nude (1985)

His paintings got looser and more luminous during the eighties, when he produced some of his finest work on the female form.


He had been in ill health for some time and a series of strokes meant that he had to learn to paint with his left hand instead of his right. Frank Frazetta died on May 10th 2010 in Fort Myers, Florida.

Egyptian Queen

Friday, May 28, 2010

May Venus: Marguerite Empey

Marguerite: reigns supreme

This month we look at the House of Rabbit's May offerings. There are 58 to choose from with only eight in horizontal format (compared with last month's ten). The winner is easy. It is Marguerite Empey from May 1955 who we have featured extensively in an earlier post.

Quite simply, Hal Adam's picture of Marguerite is one of the best ever Playboy centrefolds but we feel we should look at some of the runners up for May. We quickly narrowed it down to eight contenders and from these have selected the following four.

Firstly, we have Diana Lee from May 1988 who is included because she looks sensationally damp; covered in droplets of what you wish were sweat and also because she has to get credit for holding what looks like a very uncomfortable pose on very hard wooden furniture!

Next, from May 1981, we present Gina Goldberg, photgraphed by Arny Freytag. Three things tickle Agent Triple P's fancy here: the long string of pearls, the one stocking and the glimpse of fluff at her rear end. Enticing!

Our third eighties girl is the peerless Susie Scott with her amazing hair. Enough said.

Finally, the picture that would have won if it hadn't been for Marguerite, is from May 1954 and features Joanne Arnold, coincidentally the girl featured in our Marguerite post shown posing for Hal Adams' Hartog shirts advertisement. The zebra skin, of course, is what makes it such a striking image.

Well, it is nearly June already so we had better start reviewing next month's candidates!

Redheaded Venus of the Week 7: Venus by Modigliani

Venus, (1918) by Amedeo Modigliani

This is an unusual nude from Modigliani for several reasons. Firstly, the figure is shown standing, rather than the more usual reclining or sitting nudes of Modigliani's painted nudes period. Rather than being just a nude for the sake of it she is actually named as a "Venus" and is posed in the classical Botticelli way.

More noticeably is her colouring, however. Most of Modigliani's nudes were painted with black or dark brown hair but everything about this one indicates a real redhead. The hair on her head is a rich red and her pubic hair a paler orange colour. As someone who has explored more than a few redheads this colour differential is not unusual. Many redheads colour their hair, as red hair tends to lose its colour very early in life; being grey at thirty is not unusual. Henna was a popular dye in the nineteenth century (as it still is: Triple P had a friend who used to source her henna in suspicious looking packages from Casablanca) and this has that characteristic dark tint. Her face has a pink blush on the cheeks which is far more visible than on his other figures. Her nippes are paler than he usually depicted. Above all. her skin is very pale compared with most of Modigliani's other nudes. He tended to render women's bodies in flat, largely unshaded, expanses of fairly dark colour. The different parts of the body were indicated by line rather than tone. The effect is almost like a Roman, terracotta amphora.

Modigliani painted quickly, in rapid bursts of energy, often finishing a painting in a couple of hours. Drink and drugs fuelled his endeavours: his normal companion when he painted (he never let people in to his studio when he was working) being a bottle of brandy. The sculptor Chana Orloff once observed of Modigliani that "To work well he had to have two or three glasses of wine. After the first it didn't work; after the second things were a little better; after the third his hand worked on its own...he threw away sketches when he was sober. He drew with incredible facility when intoxicated."

This painting was sold at Christies New York, in November 2006, for $15,920,000.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Centrefold Venus of the Month 70: Priscilla Wright, March 1966

Priscilla shows us her tiny, tiny waist

This entry is a slight cheat as I posted some of the pictures some time ago but I have updated it with many more pictures of the lovely Priscilla (or Pat as she preferred to be called).

CK Dexter-Haven has requested the pictorial featuring Playmate Priscilla Wright. Priscilla was just nineteen when photographed by Mario Casilli (1931-2002), who shot 57 Playmates in total; in other words nearly 10% of them!  She appeared as Playmate in the March 1966 issue of the magazine which featured a previously unpublished James Bond story by Ian Fleming called Octopussy.

Unusually, we have included the page scans of the feature as that was what was requested.  We don't usually do this but they do give a good snapshot of what the centrefold pictorials were like at the time and how few nude shots there were of the Playmates.

Much of the text, and indeed the pictorial, concentrated on the fact that she was a keen golfer.  Her father was a golf pro and she was Southern California Junior Champion at the age of 13.  Typically, for Playboy in this period, she is dressed in all of her pictures save one plus her centrefold.

It is, perhaps, no wonder that Penthouse started to eut into Playboy's market in the sixties.  Penthouse's Pet of the Month for March 1966, Giovannia Podesta, in contrast, was undressed in all ten of her shots plus the centrefold.

Still, this was all very much part of Hugh Hefner's girl-next door approach to his models in that he insisted on showing them in real life, or, at least, Playboy's version of it. 

Priscilla became a Bunny, unusually, after her centrefold appearance and was featured in the Bunnies of Hollywood feature in December 1967. 

From the December 1967 Bunnies of Hollywood feature

Very sixties hair!

At the time of her pictorial she was a very petite 5'2" tall and a very trim 34-19-35.  We can't think you would get a Playboy Playmate with a 19 inch waist these days.  She was not quite the smallest in the magazine's history, as both Joni Mattis (November 1960) and Mickey Winters (September 1962) had 18 inch waists.

Anyway, although Priscilla was mainly dressed in her pictorial, fortunately Playboy did  take a number of shots of her, revealing her svelte teenage body. Firstly, here she is in a little green vest which highlights, rather nicely, her perky points.

Next we have just the one shot of her in a bikini, although it's obviously not the one she usually wears by the way her tan lines are visible.

Out in the desert and out of her golf clothes for once she sports quite the most fetching skirt (if you can call it that) we have ever seen.

She soon dispenses with the skirt and frolics on the sands without any clothes at all and thereby displays her extreme tan lines.

Next we have some shots of her wearing a pair of tight.  We have always enjoyed the sight of  lady wearing just a pair of jeans.  It's a lot about texture, of course.  The one above provides a lovely demonstration of the effects of gravity.

This one above of Priscilla in tights demonstrates what lovely legs she has.  For someone of just 5'2" she is very nicely in proportion and doesn't have that short girl look you sometimes get.

The orange and red towel in the shot of her in her tights makes an appearance in a number of other photos too.  It is used to cover her groin in many shots as we are still nearly five years from Playboy showing a Playmate's fluff.

Here she is posing on some politically incorrect furs and in fact she is quite close to flashing her own fur in some of these.

Now the only shot of her undressed in her magazine pictorial, other than the centrefold was this mirror shot (top) but here are a couple of others too.

These three while, perhaps, actually revealing a hint of her fur, serve to showcase her amazingly flat and toned stomach and a very cute belly-button.

This one highlights her hourglass figure and tan lines.  Unlike our friend Agent DVD, Agent Triple P is not such a fan of these, however.   We prefer our women the same colour all over, not looking like saddleback pigs!  Actually to be fair to Priscilla her lower tan lines are not too big.  Some of the examples from the fifties were just ridiculous!

Another magnificent shot of Priscilla's stomach here.  You just want to pour stuff all over it and lick it off!  

Here is Priscilla looking happy, which is always a good thing in these pictorials.  Nothing more off-putting than a miserable looking girl!

Finally, it's curtains for Priscilla.   Unlike many other Playmates we haven't been able to find out anything about her after her Playboy appearance.  She would be 71 years old now but what a very lovely and eonveniently portable young lady she was.

We are listening to Cy Coleman as we put this together. Coleman (1929-2004), of course, composed Playboy's Theme which was used for Playboy's TV shows. In 1966, the year of Priscilla's pictorial, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his musical Sweet Charity which is currently enjoying a successful run here in London starring the rather splendid Tamzin Outhwaite; much missed from one of Triple P's favourite TV series Hotel Babylon.