Monthly Archives: August 2009

Gratuitous nudity #18

Liebeszauber (c. 1470, Magic of Love) is an Early Netherlandish painting depicting a nude woman casting a love spell over a young man who is about to enter her room. The painting is housed at the Leipzig, Museum der Künste. The woman has a tight pelvis, wide waist circumference and small breasts.

See love magic, anonymous masters, love spells, female body shape and Early Netherlandish painting.

More love magic in art and literature:

“A wild centaur named Nessus attempted to kidnap Deianira, but she was rescued by Heracles, who shot the centaur with a poisoned arrow. As he lay dying, Nessus lied to Deianira, telling her that a mixture of olive oil with the semen that he had dropped on the ground and his heart’s blood would ensure that Heracles would never again be unfaithful. ”

“Tristan goes to Ireland to bring back the fair Iseult for his uncle King Mark to marry. Along the way, they accidentally ingest a love potion that causes the pair to fall madly in love. In the “courtly” version, the potion’s effects last for a lifetime; in the “common” versions, however, the potion’s effects wane after three years.

“The opening of this comic opera finds Nemorino, a poor peasant, in love with Adina, a beautiful landowner, who torments Nemorino with her indifference. When Nemorino hears Adina reading to her workers the story of Tristan and Isolde, he is convinced that a magic potion will gain Adina’s love for him. The traveling quack salesman, Dulcamara arrives, Nemorino innocently asks Dulcamara if he has anything like Isolde’s love potion. Dulcamara says he does, selling it to Nemorino at a price matching the contents of Nemorino’s pockets. Unknown to Nemorino, the bottle contains only wine. ”

Let no man unwilling to engage in love affairs with other visitors enter my doors

I finally hold a copy of Sferen in my hands, a Dutch translation of Spheres I and II, with a detail of two lovers in a bubble from the The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch on the cover.

The detail is “showing nudes cavorting within a transparent sphere. …The figures’s arms are entwined, while the female’s head bends towards the male’s attentive mouth.”(Belting)

Sloterdijk first caught my attention when stumbling on his arse comments.

“The arse seems to be condemned to live in the dark. Among the different parts of our body, it leads the life of a tramp. It truly is the idiot of the family. Yet it would be a miracle if this black sheep of the body did not have a ready opinion of the events taking place in higher regions, just like those who have been rejected by society often express the most sober views of it.” — Critique of Cynical Reason by Peter Sloterdijk

This book had me laughing on the second page when Sloterdijk adds an imaginary plate to hang above the entrance to Plato‘s academy (the original one is “let no one destitute of geometry enter my doors.”), titled “let no man unwilling to engage in love affairs with other visitors enter my doors,” thereby filling the world with an embodied philosophy, one which does not deny Eros.

RIP Les Paul (1915 – 2009)

Les Paul (1915 – 2009)


RIP Les Paul, 94, American guitarist and inventor. In 1954, Les Paul commissions Ampex to build the first eight track tape recorder, at his own expense.

“Country Living” recording above related to Les Paul via an “Ampex + Jahsonic” Google search.

Jahsonic is interested in the “recording studio as a musical instrument.”

Alfred Hitchcock @110

Alfred Hitchcock @110

Alfred Hitchcock KBE (August 13 1899April 29 1980) was a highly influential film director and producer who pioneered many techniques in the suspense and thriller genres.

Hitchcock’s films draw heavily on both fear and fantasy, and are known for their witticisms. They often portray innocent people caught up in circumstances beyond their control or understanding.

Until the later part of his career, Hitchcock was far more popular with film audiences than with film critics, especially the elite British and American critics. In the late 1950s the French New Wave critics, especially Éric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, and François Truffaut, were among the first to see and promote his films as artistic works. Hitchcock was one of the first directors to whom they applied their auteur theory, which stresses the artistic authority of the director in the film-making process.

Psychoanalytical film theorists such as Slavoj Žižek (The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema) have noticed how Hitchcock often applied Freudian concepts to his psychological thrillers, as in Rebecca, Spellbound, Vertigo, Psycho, and Marnie. Additionally, Hitchcock often dealt with matters that he felt were sexually perverse or kinky, and many of his films aimed to subvert the restrictive Hollywood Production Code.

Cover: Murders on the Half-Skull by Alfred Hitchcock (1970, Dell [New York]). Cover artist ID anyone?

Let’s make some room for bad taste


Let’s make some room for bad taste.

Enter Lolo Ferrari.

Lolo Ferrari, born Eve Valois (February 9, 1968 – March 5, 2000) was the stage name of a French dancer, actress, and singer billed as “the woman with the largest breasts in the world” though their size was artificially achieved. In 1995, she caused a sensation at the Cannes Film Festival with the presentation of the movie Camping Cosmos by Jan Bucquoy.

Camping Cosmos is a comedy film by Belgian director Jan Bucquoy, starring Lolo Ferrari. We see Belgians on holiday in a trailer park at the beach in the year 1986 with the first danger signals of AIDS. The purpose of the campsite entertainer is to bring culture to the common people; but they are not interested when the play of Bertolt Brecht Mother Courage and Her Children is shown. Then he launches a beauty contest, a song contest and a boxing match

In Camping Cosmos Lolo Ferrari comes out of the sea as an Aphrodite with the song of “Land of Hope and Glory” and having her first orgasm with the comic Tintin in the Congo. The influence of Jacques Lacan is imminent: Sex is the little Death. Arno Hintjens and Jan Decleir are a homosexual couple. The protest of the younger generation (Eve and her boyfriend) supposedly refers to Traité du savoir-vivre à l’usage des jeunes générations by Raoul Vaneigem. A character cites Louis Scutenaire and détournement publicitaire à la Marcel Mariën is used. Both were Belgian surrealists.

The film is awful but aged 34 and feeling you haven’t seen everything yet and after all, you are from Belgium, and you see it anyway. You rent it a second time (you must be bored) and thankfully the video store clerk alerts you to your mistake.

RIP Thierry Jonquet (1954 – 2009)

RIP Thierry Jonquet

RIP Thierry Jonquet, sometime collaborator of Jacques Tardi, author of the nouveau polar français, author of Mygale (1984), currently being filmed by Pedro Almodóvar as Tarantula.

Thierry Jonquet’s Tarantula was blurbed as “An unholy collaboration between Sade and Sartre, with occasional comic interventions by that honorary Frenchman Jerry Lee Lewis

Tip of the hat to De Papieren Man

Floris and Blancheflour (is) (not) the missing link …

Floris and Blancheflour (is) (not) the missing link between European medieval literature and the Arabian Nights.

Many of the details, such as the Tower of Maidens (i.e. harem), eunuch guards, and the odalisques (white slavery) derive from material carried to the west via The Arabian Nights. The frame tale of The Nights (the king “re-marries” every night) is reflected in a plot element (“the king re-marries every year”) in Floris and Blancheflour.

The tale could be originally French, or possibly of Oriental origins, or a synthesis of motifs. Kathleen Coyne Kelly, in her essay “Bartering of Blauncheflur,” summarized the discussion of the sources as follows: “Scholars disagree as to whether Floris and Blauncheflur is an oriental tale that was adapted for Western audiences, or a tale whose European author simply supplied it with an oriental setting.”

Compared to other medieval romances, the story has not frequently been brought to the screen. In 1978 Fabrice Luchini and Arielle Dombasle (photo) portrayed Floris and Blancheflour in Perceval le gallois by Éric Rohmer.

Icon of Erotic Art #54

The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1878) is a watercolor painting by Belgian artist Félicien Rops. Freud commented on this work in his essay “Delusion and Dream in Jensen’s Gradiva”:

“The engraver has chosen the model case of withdrawal into the life of saints and penitents. An ascetic monk takes refuge – probably to escape worldly temptations – near the image of the crucified Saviour. This cross fades like a shadow and in its place the radiant image of a naked woman in full bloom, takes its place, also in the shape of a crucifixion. Other painters, whose psychological insight was not as penetrating, positioned their analogous representations of temptation, with sin insolent and triumphant, somewhere alongside the Saviour on the Cross. Only Rops made it take the place of Our Lord Himself on the Cross; he seemed to know that the repressed thought returns at the very moment of its repression…” —Translation James Strachey

Some snippets in original German:

“Eine bekannte Radierung von Felicien Rops illustriert diese wenig beachtete und der Würdigung so sehr bedürftige Tatsache eindrucksvoller”

“Ein asketischer Mönch hat sich – gewiss vor den Versuchungen der Welt – zum Bild des gekreuzigten Erlösers geflüchtet. Da sinkt dieses Kreuz schattenhaft nieder und strahlend erhebt sich an seiner Stelle, zu seinem Ersatze, das Bild eines üppigen nackten Weibes in der gleichen Situation der Kreuzigung.”

Some of the stories of the demons and temptations that Anthony is reported to have faced are perpetuated now mostly in paintings, where they give an opportunity and pretext for artists to depict their more lurid or bizarre fantasies. Emphasis on these stories, however, did not really begin until the Middle Ages, when the psychology of the individual became a greater interest.

Many visual artists have depicted these incidents from the life of Saint Anthony; in prose, the tale was retold and embellished by Gustave Flaubert.

The subject of Saint Anthony was first presented in the 10th century at Italian fresco paintings. In the European Middle Ages one can watch an accumulation of the theme in book illumination and later in German woodcuts.

About 1500 originated the famous paintings of Martin Schöngauer (ca. 1490), Hieronymus Bosch (ca. 1505) and Matthias Grünewald (ca. 1510).

In modern and contemporary art (Félicien Rops and Salvador Dalí) the Temptations of Saint Anthony are stable elements in European art.