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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Venus on a Tiger Skin; by Viktor Bobrov

Nude on a Tiger Skin (1885)

Here is an enticing autumnal nude by Russian painter Viktor Bobrov (1841-1918).  It is executed in pencil and watercolour, which had been his favoured medium until about 1880, after which he largely returned to oils and produced a series of Salon portraits, often using the same model in different contemporary and historical costume. The original is quite small: about thirteen inches by nine.

There is little to explain the subject's story although the discarded tambourine hints at, perhaps, a Bacchante, although the setting does not look very Mediterranean.  Her crown of leaves is rather autumnal in colour and what looks like a dried teasel in the foreground would confirm the season.  Her pose is very provocative for the period. 

Any woman posed on a  tiger skin brings to mind the verse:

Would you like to sin 
With Elinor Glyn 
On a tiger skin? 
Or would you prefer 
To err with her 
On some other fur?

The English novelist and early Hollywood scriptwiter Elinor Glyn has a peripheral impact on the subject of our next post, too.


  1. I think the "teasel" is a thyrsos. Her crown is of ivy leaves. Dionysus was associated with the tiger as well as the panther, so this is definitely a maenad or bacchante. Possibly olive trees behind and giant reed to the left, typical Mediterranean flora. In the dry season, perhaps?