Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An erotic illusion




This is a painting I stumbled on, End of the Ball by Rogelio de Egusquiza, as usual when I was looking for something else. I thought it was supremely gorgeous, quite erotic, and seemed to embody that old term "swept off her feet". She looks like she is swooning in his arms, resting her full weight on him. If he let go of her, she would fall. He holds her delicately, almost gingerly, as she collapses into him in an attitude of erotic surrender. 




But then, hey hey, what is this?

It's some sort of odd old photograph, obviously meant as a model of sorts for the gorgeous erotic painting. But it is hardly erotic. She leans awkwardly towards his shoulder while he holds her stiffly (the two don't know each other, after all), and their hands are literally held up by a pole, reminding me of the braces used in Victorian post-mortem photography where the corpse was propped up in a "lifelike" pose. Most ludicrous of all is the wooden stool holding up the train of her exquisite gown, presumably so the artist can get the racy, shocking exposed foot just right. (I can't see the foot in the photo. Perhaps it was just too unthinkable to expose oneself in such a manner.)






It's kind of like seeing the undergirding of an exquisite building or sculpture, the mundane bones of the thing. I wonder here however if this photo was taken merely as a reference. Any artist worth his salt would need to work from "life", not a two-dimensional black-and-white photo. He would need to see skin pigment and folds of silk and individual petals. These models, if they did pose for him, probably had to hold the pose for hours. No wonder they used that prop. (And what if they had to go to the bathroom? It's hard for me to believe that people DID go to the bathroom in those days.) But the stool under the skirt just ruins the whole thing.



 

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book
    It took me years to write, will you take a look



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