George Barbier

November 14, 2008 at 5:22 pm (artworks) (, )

Venus

Originally uploaded by beastsofprey

80 years after his death, George Barbier’swork is being shown in his first posthumous exhibition at the Fortuny Museum in Venice.

Barbier was a French illustrator who was quite successful in his theatrical costumes, book illustrations and couture fashion illustrations. In his later career, Barbier designed wallpapers, glass and jewelry. He died at the height of his career, with no fanfare, and his remaining family had little appreciation for his work, and his name quickly fell into obscurity.

“His library, containing many rare editions, was auctioned off and his collection of Japanese and European erotica was donated to the Bibliothèque Nationale, where it was placed in the restricted “Enfer” section, reserved for works considered threatening to public decency.” – International Herald Tribune

For decorative artists, erotic artists, lithographers, writers, and designers, Barbier was the fusion of them all, and was able to span them all while still creating a unified body of work.

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Art vs Porn

October 16, 2008 at 8:20 pm (ramblings) (, , )

I love both these images. And I love that they are the same. We accept one, but discard the other as trash, porn, gratuitous, and demeaning to women with no redeeming social value.

And also violence, castration, ….wait that’s Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”. In the mythology, Kronos (Saturn in Roman mythology) castrated his father, Ouranos (Uranus) because of his violent and cruel behavior, and threw his discarded penis into the ocean.  As the semen exited the penis, it caused a churning of the sea out of which arose Aphrodite. Aphro (meaning sea foam) it most definately  a nuance towards the ejaculate.

One of the beauties of Botticelli’s version is his use of a mondra (sp).  The early Romans believed that the female figure has 46 specific poses (mondras) that men, and women, find alluring.

 Is it a surprise then that we find the image on the left to be alluring? It not only contains the same pose, flowing hair, similar but not exact hand placement, and even a foaming water reference on the background.

The difference to some is context.  But the fact is that we are all born with information stored in our central nervous system that allow us to respond to timeless information. If you appreciate Botticelli’s image, it is because part of you is responding to that ingrained information. So why the guilt and shame when we are drawn to the other?

 

Top image from Sex, Not Sex

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