Clemente Susini’s wax Venus
“Venus (or a Nymph) Spied On by Satyrs” by Poussin
- “I was taking in the wonderful “Poussin and Nature: Arcadian Visions,” exhibition currently up at the Metropolitan Museum, when I was struck by his famous “Venus (or a Nymph) Spied On by Satyrs”. The falling of the drapery, the hand gesture, and the blatantly revelatory pose – all very, very reminiscent of [ Clemente Susini‘s ] wax Venus models found at La Specola, the Josephinum, and beyond.” .
To me, the painting in question was reminiscent of both the 1937 novel Blue of Noon (published in 1957) by Georges Bataille and the 1838 novella One of Cleopatra’s Nights by Théophile Gautier. The latter includes a fantastic—and an undisguisedly fetishistic—description of the Egyptian queen Cleopatra‘s body post-mortem:
“Her sole vestment was the linen shroud that had covered her upon her state bed, and the folds of which she drew over her bosom as if she were ashamed of being so little clothed, but her small hand could not manage it. It was so white that the colour of the drapery was confounded with that of the flesh under the pale light of the lamp. Enveloped in the delicate tissue which revealed all the contours of her body, she resembled an antique marble statue of a bather…Dead or living, statue or woman, shadow or body, her beauty was still the same; only the green gleam of her eyes was some what dulled, and her mouth, so purple of yore, had now only a pale, tender rose-tint almost like that of her cheeks.”
The Poussin painting is Icon of erotic art #24