Friday, January 22, 2010

The Friday Evening Nudes

Alberta Barton
image originally uploaded by Figuration Féminine

Julio Romerode de Torres
 Carmen de Cordoba Baja

Guillaume-Romain Fouace

 Guy Cambier

Bernard Hall

(artist unattributed)

Note:  I've posted this Andrew Wyeth nude in the past but in light of the recent controversy over Manet's Olympia, I couldn't resist. This nude conveys a very different message than Manet's, doesn't it?


  1. There was controversy over Manet's Olympia other than the original one when it was called vulgar? I always miss the interesting news.

    Nevertheless, you've found another great selection. The Salome one has given me the creeps before now but it is interesting to see it again. The Bernard Hall painting is especially nice.

  2. Great selection...
    a RECENT controversy?

    Aloha, Friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  3. The Hall is fantastic!! Wyeth has always been a favorite.

  4. Nice collection, cant pick a fav, as they aer all so nice.

    Looks like the poor monkey? in the last post has had some shock treatment,lol.

  5. Susan and Cloudia: the "controversy" didn't take place in the art world. It happened here in my little PS world when a commenter wrote a vulgar comment disagreeing with a poem about Olympia that Margaret Atwood wrote. In Atwood's poem, she perceives the model as a bold and independent woman, fully in charge of herself. The commenter took issue with Atwood, suggesting that how Olympia was originally seen was, in fact, really the way it was: she was a prostitute through and through and the sitting was just routine work for her. She looks bored and blank and very much like an object. I didn't publish the comment because I took issue with the language the commenter used and also that he was more or less anonymous. I did, however, write a response of sorts in a post. Here it is, if you are interested:

    Kenju: that is a nice one. This artist is new to me. A living artist, I think.

    imac: poor thing! shocked by a Republican in Congress! :-D

  6. as always, lovely...wyeth is my favorite here, i simply love his paintings...they seem so fresh and alive unlike some of these that feel contrived...'pecado' is interesting in that i am always wondering WHY and WHAT ARE THOSE WOMEN DOING????? and the 'controversy' made me smile when you referenced it....perfect, was my thought ;)

    I have to say that the barton painting is ugly in my opinion but the emotion is conveys speaks to me.....unfortunately!

    gina, you mentioned my template and i wanted to tell you it is not complicated to switch over to a wider one...i simply use the minima stretch and then tweak the code of the photos to 800px...if you want, email me and i will explain in 3 sentences .... promise :)

  7. So much to say about this set. Being an orderly sort, I will do it in order of appearance.

    The Barton (I'm guessing this is Salome) is frightening. The cheerful daylight colors make it more so, not less. The matter-of-fact handling, the pink (girlish) color for the cloth... Disturbing through and through. Even the elaborateness of the platter in contrast to the simple naked truth of all the rest...

    The de Torres captures the awkward grace of long arms and prominent shoulders. There is a coltish beauty, and the piece seems to be about those long limbs, folded and at rest, and the curve of her back. Similar in some ways to the beauty of thoroughbred horses.

    The Fouace captures a fleeting expression and gesture - something that impresses me even if he was able to work from a photo. The color scheme in this one reminds me of old sepia tint photos...

    The Cambier seems too young, to me, to be Autumn - but she seems to be the season. The use of the profile reminds me of the Symbolists - I could picture this same theme and composition done by Redon.

    The Hall is my favorite in this set. The loving treatment of the fabric, and the muted rainbow of their colors, set off the figure. And the charm of her genuine sleep, captured SO sensitively in the weight and relaxation of the figure's muscles on her beautiful bones. For me the entire painting is a delight, but it's all centered on the achingly gorgeous forms of her pelvis and her abdomen and navel. The contours at the top of her, from her ribs down to her waist, and that amazing sweep up to her hip... The proportions are breathtaking. Even the handling of the colors on her tummy compared to the long legs...

    Pecado is "sin," isn't it? I've heard pecadillo - this is the word without the diminutive, right? I know there must be some message in the crones being the ones who hold up the mirror to her beauty, and the fact that her back is to us - but I don't get it. What I AM minded of is the way such beauty passes.

    The Wyeth is indeed different than Manet's Olympia - and, like you, I'm sure we're supposed to see the echo of the other. The way Helga's feet are crossed looks so American to me, in a way I can't put my finger on. That alone contrasts with the very European look of Manet's painting. And there is a kind of honesty, overall, in Wyeth's depiction, and in the model herself (in ALL of these amazing Helga paintings). And the more humble turning away of her face... such a contrast with the brazen "female on a platter" look of Manet's piece. I've always disliked Manet's Olympia - such a cold, hard looking woman. Such a culinary serving up of a person. I realize that's likely the point - but I don't like to look at it. Helga here looks cold, too, but this painting of her makes me want to get her a blanket. Olympia's cold comes from within, due to decisions she's made and decisions made for her. And Helga's pose makes you see the trust - a private moment captured. The Manet is not about trust... and the moment is most emphatically not private.

    Very thought provoking series this week. Many thanks!!!

  8. Linda: The Barton painting reminds of the many depictions of Judith from the old testament. I actually have a file of various paintings, most very old, of Judith with her handmaid and the lopped off head of what's-his-name. As gory as it is, I'm fascinated by the story and the paintings that illustrate it. But then again, I'm kinda weird like that. ;-)

    I love the Wyeth too. Those Helga paintings are among my favorite nudes.

    Steve: Hall's painting is exquisite. I couldn't find much information about the artist. He is a contemporary painter and as much as I'd like to borrow his work for my posts some more, I hesitate to without permission.

    Regarding Manet's Olympia: I love that nude. I see Olympia differently than a lot of people. Perhaps because I liked before I really knew what people said about the painting and the model in its day. To me she looks bold, unafraid to be whom and what she is. If in fact, she is just a hardened prostitute, it doesn't change what I see in her face: this is who I am and what I do and here I am and you can think what you want. At least she is not pretending. You must read Margaret Atwood's poem for a different view on Olympia; a view much closer to my own.


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