Saturday, 1 August 2015

The Dream's Embrace

According to Roman legend, Diana, Goddess of the hunt, used to come and kiss the shepherd youth, Endymion, when he was asleep on the top of the mountain each night. 

Diana's light touch partly drew Endymion from his slumber and he caught a brief glance of her. Incredulous at her beauty, he attributed it to a dream and began to prefer his dreamlike state over mundane daily routines, yet he was never awake when she was present. Through the love and favour of the Goddess, Endymion was granted eternal youth and timeless beauty, but not lasting conscious recognition of her.

In this beautifully poetic painting, Endymion, by George Frederick Watts (1817 - 1904), the English Victorian Symbolist painter and sculptor, Diana, here representing the Moon, swoops down on the languid male figure with the purpose and urgency of the Huntress. The blurred softness of the silver-blue paint of her robes conjures up the concept of the Goddess in the form of diaphanous moonlight enfolding and capturing the sleeping youth in her total embrace.

Song to the Moon (A. Dvorak - Rusalka) sung by Anna Netrebko.
Courtesy of Pavel Rsyavy.

Monday, 27 July 2015


A depiction of female aftercare of a naked male submissive in a state of post-play subspace perhaps? Alas, not exactly, but this beautiful work of religious iconography does rather resonate with this experience for me.

It is called St. Sebastian Attended by St. Irene (1615). Sebastian was an early Christian and martyr who had prudently concealed his faith, but in 286 was detected. The Roman Emperor, Diocletian, commanded him to be led to a field and there to be bound to a stake so that a group of archers from Mauritania would shoot arrows at him.

Miraculously, the arrows did not kill him. The widow of Castulus, Irene of Rome, went to retrieve his dead body (as she thought) so as to bury it, and discovered he was still alive. She brought him back to her house and, as portrayed here, cared for him with the help of her maids, nursing him back to full health.

Sadly, it was all to no avail, as shortly afterwards, Sebastian criticized Diocletian in person and as a result was clubbed to death - for sure this time!

The picture was created by the Italian early baroque painter, Bartolomeo Schedoni (1578 - 1615).

Saturday, 25 July 2015


i love the studied indifference of the two young women - so completely engrossed in one another’s company - to the standing male figure as he is left to his assigned menial task. 

The painting, titled Unravelling the Wool (1844), is by the nineteenth century Spanish artist, Manuel Garay y Arevalo.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Struggle for the Panties

The theme of the struggle for the breeches or pants appears in Western iconography from the Middle Ages until the printography of the 19th century. The garment is seen as an instrument in the power struggle between the sexes.

Until the 16th and 17th centuries, a range of popular versions had depicted a struggle for authority (represented by the masculine breeches) between women.

Combat of the Seven Women for the Panties, anonymous, Paris , late 17th century

Over this long period of time, the focus increasingly shifted to the relations between husbands and wives. A theme in vogue since the end of the 14th century was the husband subjugated and humiliated by his wife, reflecting a rivalry between the sexes where women prevailed. This "struggle for panties" between a man and a woman was understandably focused on the matrimonial context because where else but in the family compound could men and women dispute authority? 

The Argument for the Panties, 1480, by Israhel van Meckenem the younger

However, the artists of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance came to attribute the theme more generally and widely than the domestic sphere. For example, the philosopher Aristotle succumbs (like any man supposedly less wise than him) to the mounting skills of the formidable seductress Phyllis, Mistress of Alexander the Great, while the warrior Samson is drained of his strength and virility by the scissors of the biblical temptress, Delilah.

Aristotle and Phyllis, anonymous, Germany, early 16th century

Samson and Delilah, Andrea Mantegna, 15th century

Friday, 17 July 2015

The Dying Slave

The Dying Slave is a sculpture by the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Created between 1513 and 1516. it was to serve with another figure, The Rebellious Slave. 

Michelangelo intended both statues for the splendid funerary monument originally planned for and by Pope Julius II — a project which was repeatedly modified during forty years of successive programs.

Despite being unfinished, the two great marbles were widely admired. Michelangelo donated them to the Florentine exile Roberto Strozzi, who presented them to the French king.

The Dying Slave is superbly young and handsome, and apparently in a deep (perhaps eternal) sleep. It is held today at the Louvre, Paris.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Black Swan

Vladimir Glynin began his career as a photographer in 1995, being a dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet. Initially, most of his photographs were devoted to the internal life of the theatre.

In 2008, Glynin snapped a series of dramatic and sensual black and white images as ballet dancers from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre recreated the famous Russian ballet ‘Swan Lake’ by Tchaikovsky for his visual art project.

Styled by Glynin, the project was exhibited in Moscow, London & Austria before being sold to private collections.

Swan Lake, Final Act, by The Kiev Ballet
Courtesy of Kievballetfan

Saturday, 4 July 2015

D/s Couple

This colour etching, titled The Couple (in which the kneeling, worshipping male clearly knows his place), is by Alméry Lobel-Riche (1880 - 1950), a French painter, engraver and illustrator.

Born to French parents in Geneva, Switzerland, he was a towering figure in French print-making. He never formed part of any school, although there is a clear influence in his work of Symbolists such as Félicien Rops and Impressionists such as Louis Legrand, as well as the classical example of Ingres.

The art of Alméry Lobel-Riche is characterized by a troubled and troubling atmosphere of decadent sensuality. His first artistic success came when his drawings were accepted for publication by Le Rire in 1895. Although he did execute some pastels (mainly of fashionable women), the bulk of his work consists of etchings and drypoints.

Lobel-Riche is particularly known for his female nudes, elegant women, ballet dancers, depictions of bars and dance halls, and North African scenes.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Lady Liberty Triumphing

In 1887, a wealthy American philanthropist named Adolph Sutro had a statue titled, Triumph of Light, installed atop Mt. Olympus hill in the centre of San Francisco.

It was a 12-foot bronze statue of Lady Liberty triumphing over a subjugated male-depiction of Despotism, while holding aloft her light. Placed atop a 30-foot pedestal, the statue commanded breathtakingly unobstructed views of San Francisco.

Over time, the statue was largely neglected and eventually fell into disrepair. Sometime in the 1950s, it was removed altogether. Today, only the pedestal remains with a mostly unreadable inscription surrounded by trees and condominiums.

The work was designed by Antoine Joseph Wiertz (1806 - 65), a Belgian romantic painter and sculptor. He intended the original to be part of a series entitled, The History of Humanity in Four Epochs. (He managed to complete 3 of the 4 pieces)This representation is a copy of the original Triumph of Light.