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

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sauce Material: Venus in Books 1 - Sappho the Art of Loving Women

This one is really specifically for Scarlett Knight and Sophie, who both love their books and bookshelves.  It is a section from my shelves depicting some of the books that help me with my various posts on Venus Observations and the Seduction of Venus.

Looking at these, we can recall that the first art nude photographic book we bought was J Frederick Smith's Sappho: The Art of Loving Women which Triple P bought in a remaindered bookshop in my local town in about 1979.  £6.95 was a lot of money in 1979, given Sainsbury's were selling half bottles of wine at 99 pence!

It is a gently sensuous, rather than overtly erotic, book dating from 1975.  Famously, a photo in similar style by Smith (headlining the pictorial inside featuring pictures from the book) in Playboy in October 1975 helped start the movement within the organisation that led to Playboy surrendering in the Pubic Wars battle with Penthouse.  Half naked lesbians on the cover!  Horrors!

Whilst some readers wrote in to Playboy praising the "tasteful", "artistic and erotic", pictorial one grumpy reader was not impressed at all. "I think your pictorial Sappho is in very poor taste. It's offensive, stupid and immature! This is supposed to be a men's magazine! Why must we be subjected to the immoral acts of those stupid girls? Why don't you leave such material to magazines that cater for homosexuals?"  Oh dear!

There are a number of short sequences in the book using a number of different models and, while illustrated with verses by the Greek poetess Sappho, most lead Triple P to think about little stories or scenarios for the characters depicted.

Quite a few of the pictures feature an older woman with a younger girl and these have a real 'experience versus innocence' quality about them.  We have featured some more pictures from the book in The Seduction of Venus here, where these would more normally sit, but we want this to be an ongoing series on Venus Observations.

More saucy books another time.