Monday, 1 October 2012

Paintings that tickle

Next year my 18th century society, Gustafs Skål, will turn 20 and we have a lot of fun thing planned to celebrate. One of these things is an erotic calendar- 18th century style. Every age, of course, has depicted naked people and for example Boucher practically wallows in naked flesh. Make a picture search for Boucher and Leda for the most lewd version of that tale I have ever seen. But this calendar of course isn’t meant to be pornographic, there will be no naked breasts, but a lot of wrists and knees- such pieces of anatomy that the 18th century fashion hid and that was considered quite risqué then. Now they are not, but that’s the point- we wanted to make a calendar with pictures that was a naughty then, but not now.

Une élegante á sa toilette by Michel Garnier
We are in the process of taking the photos now, we finished four yesterday and will do the rest in a fortnight. Though we don’t have the resources to exactly copy paintings, but we are using paintings and engravings from the 18th century as template for our photos. I’m part of the planning group and we have had great fun choosing pictures and hunting for models. Everyone participating are members of Gustafs Skål and none of us are models, but I think it will be a very nice calendar even so. I and J are going to be in one picture and I’m a bit nervous- I have never been in a real photoshoot in my life, I hope it will be all right even so.
Here is a collection of such naughty painting, some that we will be using in the calendar and some who didn’t make it.

The swing seems like a rather innocent painting, but remember, fine ladies did not use underpants...

The Swing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, ca. 1767

Francois Boucher didn't only paint naked women, he did portraits too and also a number of dressed, but still sexy paintings.

The Surprise by François Boucher, 1730-32

Dreaming Shepherdess by Francois Boucher, ca. 1763

La belle cuisinière by Francois Boucher

Though you can't see anything, a woman doing her more intimate hygiene is really naughty, don't you agree? The rose on the floor must symbolize something as it is so prominently there in the pictures below. My guess is that it stands for loss of virginity, which would add even more meaning, but I'm not at all knowledgable about symbolism in painting.

La toilette intime by Francois Boucher


La Toilette intime ou la Rose effeuillee by Louis-Léopold Boilly

The cat between the exposed legs must have a meaning too as it turns up again and again, positioned just there.

Young Woman at Her Toilette, attributed to Niklas Lafrensen, ca. 1780’s.

La toilette by Francois Boucher, 1742
Le Lever de Fanchon by Nicolas Bernard Lépicié, 1773

The Garter by Jean-François de Troy, 1724



Picture sources:

6 comments:

Élisabeth said...

You forgot the 2 versions of "Before" an "After" by William Hogarth.
One is at the Fitzwilliam collection: http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/pharos/collection_pages/18th_pages/PD11_1964/TXT_SE-PD11_1964.html
I do not know where is the other...

Nancy-Raven Hellfire said...

I like the idea of the calendar.It's really nice and fun.

Cassidy said...

What a great idea for a project! I hope we get some previews.

Perhaps the cat between the legs is a pun?

Isis said...

Élisabeth: I know- they are not the only ones I omitted. There are really a lot of paintings on these themes when you start looking and we had a hard time deciding which ones to take.

Nancy-Raven Hellfire: I hope it will be!

Cassidy: Hopefully I will be allowed to post a preview!

It seems the cat is a symbol for female libido. :)

Rhissanna said...

Oh, these are a lovely collection of naughty paintings. I've always had fun explaining why Fragonard's 'The Swing' isn't just a pretty picture!

I'd never noticed the cats and roses in the toilette images. Thank you for pointing them out.

I'm so looking forward to seeing the work on the calendar. What a wonderful, witty idea!

Isis said...

Rhissanna: Yes, that's not so obvious if one doesn't know the view on underpants back then... ;)

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