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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Harem Venuses: Before Punishment by Franz Eisenhut

Before Punishment (1890)


Someone recently commented on a post here about their interest in harems.  This was a very popular subject with Victorian period painters too, offering, as it did, an opportunity to depict sensuously abandoned looking women but with an historical or ethnic justification.  Naked dancers, women bathing and women smoking were all lasciviously depicted by artists keen to feed the public fascination as to what really went on in those mysterious eastern harems.


Captive in the Harem


This example, Before Punishment (sometimes known as Before the verdict) includes two sinuously stretched out women with an added S&M element, as both are locked in wooden stocks around their ankles.  One is white and redheaded (the Victorians were fascinated by white slaves taken into harems) and the other dusky.  What have they been up to to be punished?  The stocks appear again in the same artist's picture, Captive in the Harem.

Both were painted by Austro-Hungarian (born in Novo Palanka, in what is now Serbia) artist Franz Eisenhut (1857-1903).  His father wanted him to become a merchant but a Hungarian painter spotted his drawing talent and prominent citizens of his home town collected money to fund his studies in Budapest and Munich. He travelled in the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus and became an orientalist painter, principally.

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