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.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

A Floral D/s Fantasy

A charming floral fantasy in an old english garden by Walter Crane (1845 - 1915), English artist and influential children's book illustrator: London, Harper and Brothers; 1899.

Behold London Pride
Robed and crowned,
Ushered in by 
the golden rod,
While a floral crowd 
press around,
Just to win from
Her crest a nod.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Minerva Victorious

Minerva was the Roman Goddess who Romans from the 2nd century BC onwards equated with the Greek Goddess Athena. She was the virgin Goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, and magic.

In Minerva victorious over Ignorance, c. 1591, by Bartholomeus Spranger, the Goddess is portrayed in gold helmet and seductive armour placing her foot on the neck of a shackled, donkey-eared ignorance. Two putti are handing her a laurel wreath and palm of victory. At her feet are Bellona, a subordinate goddess of war, and the muse of poetry, Calliope. Around the platform are other muses and allegorical figures personifying painting, sculpture, and architecture. The theme of this painting is that wisdom and the arts triumph over ignorance.

Bartholomeus Spranger (1546 - 1611) was a Flemish painter, draughtsman, sculptor, and etcher. Active in Italy, Austria and Bohemia, he became a painter to the imperial court in Prague. His unique style combining elements of Netherlandish painting and Italian influences, in particular the Roman Mannerists, had an important influence on other artists in Prague and beyond. The artist’s elegant yet intellectual paintings embody an ideal of beauty.

Friday, 12 June 2015

He Goes Where She Bids Him

The illustration, “And the Damsel of the Lake rejoiced Sir Pellease” is by William Russell Flint (1880 - 1969), Scottish artist and illustrator, for Le Morte D’Arthur (bk. IV, ch. 22, 23); the book of King Arthur and of his noble knights of the Round table:

Sir Pelleas loves the proud Lady Ettard, who scornfully spurns his love. Gawain undertakes to win Ettard for Pelleas, but in reality gains her love for himself. Pelleas surprises the lovers together, and learns that he has lost his Lady and that his friend is faithless.

The Damsel of the Lake, Nimue, when she hears the story of Pelleas's sufferings, by her enchantment makes the Lady Ettard mad with love for Pelleas, while she causes Pelleas to hate Ettard and to love herself.

He goes with her where she bids him. "So the Lady Ettard died for sorrow, and the Damsel of the Lake rejoiced Sir Pelleas, and loved together during their life days."

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Nymph & Satyr

In Greek mythology, a satyr was a deity of the forest and the wild, closely associated with the god Dionysus, a half man - half beast with equine features, including a horse-tail, horse-like ears, and sometimes a horse-like phallus. A nymph was a minor nature Goddess who populated the cosmos.

In this painting, Nymphs and a Satyr, a nymph is depicted overcoming and capturing a satyr. On the left, one of a group of four women is directing the others to tie the satyr up, presumably for their pleasure.

The work is by the Dutch Golden Age landscape painter, Cornelis Van Poelenburgh (1586 - 1667). Having studied in Utrecht, his artistic career blossomed during his years in Rome from 1617 to 1625. An early member of the schildersbent, the club for Rome's Netherlandish painters, he was nicknamed (ironically enough) "Satyr."

In Rome, a friend noted that Poelenburgh "exerted himself to the utmost to paint his figures in the manner of Raphael." He was among the first artists to render Italian sunlight and atmosphere convincingly. After returning from Italy, he became one of Utrecht's leading artists.

He painted mostly small landscapes with mythical or religious figures or passages. His highly detailed figures were so admired that he was hired to paint them in other artists' works.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Sculpted Submission

This beautiful marble sculpture, titled Jarni vzdechy (Springtime Sighs), of a kneeling naked male figure submitting to a seated Woman gazing triumphantly upwards was created in 1905 by the Czech sculptor and teacher, Bohumil Kafka (1878 - 1942).

He studied in Prague before moving first to Vienna and then to Paris to further his studies. He went on to work in London, Berlin and Rome before returning and settling in Prague.

A leading representative of the Czech figural sculpture of the first half of the 20th century, Kafka was significantly influenced by French art and in particular, by the works of Auguste Rodin.

He frequently worked in an Expressive symbolist style, was a noted animalier (or animal sculptor), as well as being known for his decorative sculpture. He was considered a predecessor to the Art Nouveau style.

Monday, 1 June 2015

She Holds the Strings

Having recently featured the work of Rafal Olbinski (b. 1943), the Polish illustrator, painter, and educator, living in the United States, i return to another of his enigmatic pieces called Tosca.

Olbinski's favourite poster theme is opera. He has had numerous art posters commissioned from him by renowned opera theatres including the New York City and Philadelphia Opera Companies. He has also produced more than 100 illustrations for opera album covers.

Puccini’s opera, Tosca, is a heart-wrenching tale of love and loss. Here, Olbinski underlines the fact that the heroine and hero of Tosca are artists – she (Tosca), the famous singer and he (Cavaradossi), the painter and her lover.

Olbinski portrays the doomed painter as a helpless marionette controlled by the Giantess soprano who holds all the strings, and wears her own stage like a great red veil.

In this video film, the Romanian soprano, Angela Gheorghiu sings the wonderful and moving aria, "Vissi d’arte" (“I lived for art”) from a performance of Tosca at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.

Courtesy of Alice Bathory

Friday, 22 May 2015

Sylvia Is Excelling

This painting called Who Is Sylvia? depicts a scene from Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona, where the Host sings to Sylvia:

"Who is Silvia? what is she,
That all our *swains commend her?
Holy, fair and wise is she;
The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.

Is she kind as she is fair?
For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
To help him of his blindness,
And, being help'd, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring."

The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 2.

*Middle English: meaning young man, servant; from Old Norse sveinn

The work was created in 1900 by Edwin Austin Abbey (1852 - 1911), an American muralist, illustrator, and painter. He flourished at the beginning of what is now referred to as the "golden age" of illustration, and is best known for his drawings and paintings of Shakespearean and Victorian subjects.