The Girls of Summer, Pt. 2

Well, I was planning to do an article on the Ana Torrent film El nido first, but I haven’t even got the film stills ready yet, so I will do it later this month.  Meanwhile, I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way, because I know some of you have been eagerly anticipating it.  So let’s get started, shall we?

The first two pieces are from a Russian photographer I’ve featured before, who went by the name Mastadont at whatever photography site I pulled these from.  The first piece is a reference to a character from Slavic mythology, a water nymph called a Rusalka.  But I especially like the second image.  It’s a lively piece, and one of the little girls almost seems to be dancing atop the rainbow that dissects the image.

Mastadont - In the Lake Swam Rusalka

Mastadont – In the Lake Swam Rusalka

Mastadont - (Title Unknown)

Mastadont – (Title Unknown)

Photodom: Mastodont

Now here’s a painting by Donald Zolan, who is known for producing highly popular if somewhat kitschy paintings of children.  Any one of dozens of his works could fit into this post, but I really like this one of a young girl stooping down to get a better look at a monarch caterpillar.  Zolan will eventually get an entire post devoted to his work, but for now we’ll have to settle for this one.  The artist himself passed away in 2009, but his art lives on and is as popular as ever.

Donald Zolan - Small Wonder

Donald Zolan – Small Wonder

The Zolan Company (official site)

This is a strange image.  The little girl is topless, which is odd considering the time and place the photo was taken: Coney Island, New York in the early ’90s.  Unlike in Europe or other parts of the world, little girls going topless at an American beach is highly unusual, to say the least.  Moreover, bucking the usual trend for these kinds of photos, this girl does not appear to be very happy.  She’s frowning, and her arms are crossed defensively.  Award-winning photographer Rineke Dijkstra is Dutch, but perhaps her subject here was not, and while Dijkstra clearly saw nothing out of the ordinary in having this girl pose topless, the girl herself seems less than thrilled at the prospect.  Then again, the little redhead could be upset about something entirely unrelated.  Who knows?  This subject is now an adult, and I’d be curious to learn what was actually going on in her head at the time this was taken.

Rineke Dijkstra - Coney Island, NY, USA, July 9, 1993

Rineke Dijkstra – Coney Island, NY, USA, July 9, 1993

Wikipedia: Rineke Dijkstra

This image has appeared on the blog before in one of the old Random Image of the Day posts, but I have eliminated that post and brought the image into this one.  I know nothing about the photographer.  This is another image I picked up from a photography site, probably Russian.  I am intrigued by the girl’s pose—she stares up at the sky with a smile, and seems to wave at someone there, perhaps a passing angel, her hand lambent in the sunlight.  I only wish the photo was slightly larger.

Tony Chiodo - Angelic

Tony Chiodo – Angelic

Frank Owen Salisbury’s work has appeared on this blog before as well.  The interesting thing about Salisbury is that he was a conservative hardcore Methodist and a serious portraitist who painted the likes of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill and even John Wesley (the founder of Methodism) himself.  And yet, Salisbury also painted this beautiful piece featuring two nude young girls.  In fact, the girls were Salisbury’s own twin daughters, Monica and Sylvia.  What?!  Imagine, a man like Salisbury presenting his own preteen daughters to the world without a stitch!

Ah, but alas, how differently we have come to look upon the nude child since Salisbury’s time.  Today a religious conservative like Salisbury would likely be protesting such images rather than painting them.  One thing I’d like to point out here: although it’s subtle, if you look at the blond twin’s wrist, you can see she is wearing a very thin bracelet, an item that  ever so slightly anchors this image to modernity.  Finally, it is notable that the original version of this painting is currently housed at the National Trust Museum of Childhood, part of Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire, England, which looks like an altogether fabulous place to visit if you’re ever in that part of England.

Frank Owen Salisbury - Wonders of the Sea (1912)

Frank Owen Salisbury – Wonders of the Sea (1912)

Wikipedia: Frank Owen Salisbury

British photographer and art film director Tacita Dean took the next shot that focuses on a couple of toddlers who have clearly been enjoying a dip in a pool or pond or some such.  Is it just me or does the little blond girl’s costume look to be crocheted or knitted?  Whatever it is, it’s an odd choice for swimwear. Perhaps these outfits were not intended as bathing costumes at all and the water frolicking was all rather impromptu.  This image has the warm, fuzzy feel of a snapshot from a family photo.  Or, it could be a subtle advertisement for Johnson’s Baby Lotion.

Tacita Dean - Baby Lotion (2000)

Tacita Dean – Baby Lotion (2000)

Tacita Dean (official site)

Wikipedia: Tacita Dean

The following piece was scanned from The Family of Children, a book I’ve drawn from before.  The book contains another image of this girl from the same shoot, a closeup (bust and head) portrait, but I think this one is much more interesting.  The girl looks to be preparing for a swim while a young couple (her parents?) make out on the ground behind her, completely oblivious to the girl’s presence.  This image may have been shot at the original Woodstock festival—it has the right feel. I’m sure it comes from the hippie era: late ’60s/early ’70s.  Because the source image was small, this is a little grainier than I’d prefer.  I used the Gaussian blur feature in Photoshop to eliminate the halftone, but I didn’t want to overdo it or too much detail would’ve been lost.  It’s a fine balancing act.

The photo was taken by Joan Liftin, who isn’t terribly well-represented on the web but should be.  She has, in the course of her career, worked for the likes of the International Center of Photography, Magnum Photos and UNICEF, and she has edited books on other photographers such as Mary Ellen Mark, Charles Harbutt and Andrea Stern.

Joan Liftin - (Title Unknown)

Joan Liftin – (Title Unknown)

This next piece is a digital photo-manipulation piece by DeviantArt user Kayceeus.  She works with stock photos and creates collages that she then manipulates until they resemble paintings.  This one is particularly good, and had I not known, I might easily have mistaken this for an actual photo-realistic painting.

Kayceeus - Summer Fun

Kayceeus – Summer Fun

DeviantArt: Kayceeus

These next two photos are by Helen Eleeva.  Because of the girl’s movement and the tilted angle in each, these images are dynamic.  In the first photo, the girl is running along the beach with her dog.  Caught mid-stride, she appears to float over the beach.  In the second photo, we see her with arms outstretched and hair fanned out.  Is she pretending to be a helicopter?  Note how the other (tiny) figures in the shot have been relegated to the far upper right-hand corner.  It’s an odd composition, to be sure, but it mostly works.

A lot of images by this artist can be found here.  The particular images shown here are on page 33 (as of 150925) and the girl appears in at least 5 other photographs. Her work also appears here, here and here.

Helen Eleeva - (Title Unknown) (1)

Helen Eleeva – (Title Unknown) (1)

Helen Eleeva - (Title Unknown) (2)

Helen Eleeva – (Title Unknown) (2)

Along the same lines is this color piece by Swedish photographer and designer Jonas Elmqvist.  Running with arms outstretched, the little girl is about to bolt past the frame of the image and leave it altogether.  There’s something inherently true to the experience of childhood here.  It reminds me of a beautiful quote by Michael Whitmore from his article Finders Keepers:

Children, like legends and rare books, are often on the verge of disappearing, and it is for those who have left the kingdom of childhood—that high-walled garden whose gate has always been left swinging in the background—to wonder where they’ve gone.

This image appears here on Flickr and the artist also has an album focusing on portraiture and another on the artist’s daughters Kajsa and Maja.

Jonas Elmqvist - Summer Feeling

Jonas Elmqvist – Summer Feeling

Another image borrowed from a Russian photography site.  The thing that’s most striking about this image to me is how, though the one little girl is clearly nude, most of the other children (all of whom appear to be boys) are dressed in rather clean and modern-looking clothes.  These kids aren’t counterculture types, I think; nudity is just accepted for young kids hanging out on a raft with their grandfather.  But both the little girl and the boy sitting up front (a brother?) are also wearing crucifix necklaces.  This is Russia after all—far different standards than in the US.

This image can be found here.  The photographer specializes in weddings and special events so most images found online were commissioned by her clients.

Galina Sergeyev - Grandfather Said . . .

Galina Sergeyeva – Grandfather Said . . .

This piece is by Turkish painter Ali Özhan Güneş, who often paints scenes from nude beaches.  Again, the interesting point here is the contrast between the two boys wearing swimsuits and the naked (except for sunglasses) little girl who is watching them.  The boys seem to be completely oblivious to the naked girl beside them, but in a year or so that will likely all change.

Ali Özhan Güneş - Happy Children (2012)

Ali Özhan Güneş – Happy Children (2012)

Ali Özhan Güneş (official site)

This is a fun image.  I’m not entirely sure what the girl is wearing as the splashing water obscures most of it, but it appears to be some sort of scouting or sporting outfit.  The latter makes more sense based on the title.  Spain won the FIFA World Cup in soccer in 2010, which would indicate this image dates from the same year.  I know nothing about the photographer here.

Anna Kamińska - Congratulations Spain

Anna Kamińska – Congratulations Spain

Canadian photographer Valerie Rosen made a name for herself documenting life in the Near East, but she also works as a portrait and events photographer.  I really love the pose this little girl is in.  She looks like she’s about to tumble backwards, right onto her behind.  Joy indeed.

Valerie Rosen - Joy

Valerie Rosen – Joy

Flickr: Valerie Rosen

Tom Chambers is my favorite artist in this post.  As a photographer, he likes to create images that hover at the edge of surreality.  If you visit no other sites linked in this article, don’t miss this one.  There are plenty of little girls in his work, including a whole series from which this next image is taken.  The concept and symbolism here are compelling for reasons that are difficult to quantify, but I’ll do my best.  First there’s the contrast between the dark, massive, earthy beast and the airy, light and graceful girl who rides it, even as she mimics the sea bird flying nearby.  The bird itself hovers over the horse’s head, as if representing the true nature of the horse, who may want to fly too.  Thus we have a kind of spiritual triangle here: horse, girl and bird, all connected by the water and air around them and seeking the next level up from their usual conditions.  The horse is much lighter in the water, the girl is higher and freer on the back of the horse, and the bird is the most liberated of them all.  The horse is a Marwari, which come from India, a nation whose people are known for their spiritual connection to the elements.

Tom Chambers - Marwari Stallion #1 (2009)

Tom Chambers – Marwari Stallion #1 (2009)

Tom Chambers Photography (official site)

Carl Wilhelmson was a Swedish painter whose best work was produced during the first quarter of the 20th century.  He was a student of Carl Larsson, and his work bears much resemblance to Larsson’s, but he also studied under Bruno Liljefors, whom he might’ve inherited his love of outdoor scenes from.  He didn’t paint many nudes, but one of the few he did paint is our next image.  The girl’s pose feels slightly stiff and forced, and she is a tad too centered, but the light flooding the scene, the muted colors and the paleness of the medium itself tend to counteract any overly formal aspects of the piece.

Carl Wilhelmson - Sommar i skären (1915)

Carl Wilhelmson – Sommar i skären (1915)

Wikipedia: Carl Wilhelmson (Site is in Swedish)

Last but not least . . . two photos from Mikael Anderrson.  The close bond these children have is obvious, and I could look at dozens more photos featuring the two.  I wonder where they are now?

This artist can a huge account with NordicPhotos (over 330 pages) and these photos may appear there.  He has another account here and some of the images from this series were probably used to promote his book Barnmark (2011).

Mikael Andersson - A Boy and a Girl Playing in the Water

Mikael Andersson – A Boy and a Girl Playing in the Water

Mikael Andersson - A Girl and a Boy Embracing at a Lakeside

Mikael Andersson – A Girl and a Boy Embracing at a Lakeside

The Girls of Summer, Pt. 1

Well, it’s high summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means young girls are out playing in the water, on the beach, or in the yard.  In some parts of the world they are even doing so (gasp!) partially or fully nude.  Others are wearing swimsuits or thin summer outfits.  The beauty and innocence of a child frolicking under a blazing summer sun, free of guilt and bodily shame, is a sight we could all use more of, frankly.  And so, in honor of those children who are out there enjoying the rays this summer, here is the first in a three-part series featuring little girls doing precisely that, all perfectly captured by an assortment of painters and photographers from around the world.  So look at these images and smile, because someday, if the morality thugs and environment polluters continue to have their way, it may be a rare thing to behold.

The first image is in honor of the holiday Americans just celebrated, the Fourth of July.  I don’t recall where I obtained this image, and a search of the artist’s name reveals nothing.  It may have been mislabeled at the site I got it from; that kind of thing happens a lot on the internet, unfortunately.  I also wish it was a wee bit larger, but this will have to suffice.  I intended to post this on the Fourth but didn’t get it out in time.

Carol Lauren - (Title Unknown)

Carol Lauren – (Title Unknown)

The next image is from Indian journalist and photographer Sebin Abraham Jacob, who goes by Sebinaj on DeviantArt.  It’s called Rejoice, and I can’t imagine a better title.  I love the texture of the stone walkway behind the girl and how nicely it contrasts with her softness.  I also love her fancy shoes, which seem almost out of place and slightly too large for her feet.

Sebinaj - Rejoice

Sebin Abraham Jacob – Rejoice

DeviantArt: Sebinaj

Karl Jóhann Jónsson is an Icelandic painter, primarily of portraits.  I really like the unique perspective on this little girl, Emilia.  There are other paintings of the same girl, whom I presume is his daughter, on his site, so take a look around.

Karl Jóhann Jónsson - Emilía í sundi

Karl Jóhann Jónsson – Emilía í sundi

Karl Jóhann: Portrett og fleira (official site)

These next two pieces are actually English travel posters from early to mid-20th century.  The first is for Burnam-on-Sea, a coastal town in Somerset, England.  At first, all I was able to glean from the web on the artist was that his last name is Durmon.  It looks to be from about the 1940s.  If anyone else can provide more information here, it will be greatly appreciated.  Although there is no text provided, the second image is a poster for another English coastal town, Clacton-on-Sea, dating from 1953, with art by Mervyn Scarf.  I’ve included these for the express reason that they both demonstrate that it wasn’t that long ago when the English followed the general European trend for little girls’ bathing costumes.  As you can see in both examples, the little girls are topless.  There are other examples out there showing the same, but these two should suffice.

Durmon - Burnham-on-Sea (poster)

Alan Durman – Burnham-on-Sea (poster)

Alan Durman (1905-1963) did a number of idyllic pieces that appeared on posters and examples are sold at auction from time to time.

Mervyn Scarf - Clacton-on-Sea (poster) (1953)

Mervyn Scarf – Clacton-on-Sea (poster) (1953)

This next photograph is by Sally Mann.  Although I have a couple of Mann’s books, this image was actually taken from a small compilation volume I have called Love and Desire.  That is, of course, Mann’s daughter Jessie striking the pose on what appears to be a boogie board of some sort.  I have never seen this image in any other source, so I was quite happy to discover the book had a Mann photo in it.

Sally Mann - Venus Ignored (1992)

Sally Mann – Venus Ignored (1992)

Sally Mann (official site)

This image is by the painter Rafael Concilio and dates from 2001.  That’s really all I can tell you.

A few of this artist’s paintings can be found here.

Rafael Concilio - A Toy Ship (2001)

Rafael Concilio – A Toy Ship (2001)

Here is a photograph by Oleg Itkin.  I do not recall where I pulled this from, probably a Russian photography site.  Such sites were a goldmine of beautiful images of children back in the early ’00s, and I discovered a lot of fantastic new photographers this way.  This piece reminds me a lot of the work of Jock Sturges in its simplicity.

Oleg Itkin - Vintage

Oleg Itkin – Vintage

And speaking of Russian photographers, one of the best is Dolphine (a.k.a. d’elf), who mostly shoots images of little girls (and occasionally little boys) doing gymnastics.  If you are interested in child gymnastics, you will find more images than you could ever want at Dolphine’s website.  Be sure to check the links at the bottom of her page for more beautiful work.  Here are two pieces from Dolphine.

Dolphine - Small Pantheon

Dolphine – Small Pantheon

Dolphine - Summer 2

Dolphine – Summer 2

d’elf (official site)

This next one is somewhat different from the theme of this post, but I quite like it and wanted to include it anyway.  It is a painting by Jimmy Lawlor called, appropriately enough, The Height of Summer.  Lawlor has several lovely surrealist/fantasy paintings featuring children, so don’t forget to peruse his site!

Jimmy Lawlor - The Height of Summer

Jimmy Lawlor – The Height of Summer

Jimmy Lawlor (official site)

Wai Ming is an Asian painter of some renown, noted for his beautiful and sensitive portraits of children, especially girls.  Here is a perfect example.

Wai Ming - The Lovely Summer

Wai Ming – The Lovely Summer

Wai Ming (official site)

Nikolai Filippov is yet another Russian photographer who tends to focus his camera on the young girl, though his specialty is ballet.  This image of a nude boy and girl walking down the beach is all kinds of charming.

There is a large collection (23 pages worth) of his work here.  However, the nude images have a warning and one would presumably need to establish an account to view those.  A number of images can be found here as well along with some biographical information.

Nikolai Filippov - Game Beside the Sea II (1972)

Nikolai Filippov – Game Beside the Sea II (1972)

And now we move on to Russian painters.  Anna Lebedevna (not to be confused with Anna Ostroumova-Lebedevna) is a contemporary academic painter, and that’s about all I know of her.  She doesn’t seem to have much of a presence online, unfortunately.

Anna Lebedeva - Summer (1999)

Anna Lebedeva – Summer (1999)

Svitlana Galdetska is a contemporary Ukrainian painter who specializes in paintings of her own daughter.  This image is one of several lovely ‘girl on beach’ images from her series Space Around Me.

Svitlana Galdetska - My Summer

Svitlana Galdetska – My Summer

Svitlana Galdetska (official site)

Contemporary photographer Frank H. Jump mostly focuses on vintage and decaying signs and murals, but here he trains his camera on an adorable little girl at the beach.

Frank H. Jump - Girl on Beach, Ft. Tilden, Queens (2002)

Frank H. Jump – Girl on Beach, Ft. Tilden, Queens (2002)

Fading Ad Campaign (official site)

I don’t know the photographer of this next image, but it is a page taken from the magazine Marie Claire Italia.  I do know that the adult woman in the image is French actress and model Laetitia Casta.

(Photographer Unknown) - Marie Claire Italia, June, 1995

(Photographer Unknown) – Marie Claire Italia, June, 1995

Stanley Goldstein is a modern painter with a photo-realistic style.  There are some beach and other outdoor images at his site that could’ve easily fit here, but I preferred this painting of children frolicking in a water fountain.

Stanley Goldstein - Fountain I (2008)

Stanley Goldstein – Fountain I (2008)

Stanley Goldstein (official site)

Here’s an unusual photo by Luiz Cavalcante, whose work I have featured here before.  This little girl looks like she’s having a blast, doesn’t she?

Luiz Cavalcante - Little Jumping Girl

Luiz Cavalcante – Little Jumping Girl

Our final piece is by Shannon Richardson.  I’ve posted this once before, but I want to post it again.  Ah, what was better when you were a kid than playing outside while eating ice cream, eh?

Shannon Richardson - Grass Skirts

Shannon Richardson – Grass Skirts

That’s it for this batch.  Stay cool out there, people.

Shannon Richardson (official site)

Thomas Cooper Gotch: A Golden Dream

Thomas Cooper Gotch began his professional life in the boot and shoe business.  Then it happened that in his twenties he enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art in London.  There he was friendly with Henry Scott Tuke; Tuke is distinguished for having almost his entire oeuvre consisting of nude boys.  Tuke, Gotch and fellow Slade student and Gotch’s future wife, Caroline Burland Yates, became associated with the Newlyn art colony, first visiting in the late 1870s and residing there during the late 1880s.  The Newlyners were mostly Methodist teetotalers and are remembered for their en plein air realist rural style.  Gotch, however, is not remembered for his Newlyn period works despite being an associate of James Whistler and one of the founding members of the New English Art Club.

Gotch and his wife relocated to Florence in 1891 which had a significant effect on his style.

Thomas Cooper Gotch – The Child Enthroned (1894)

Thomas Cooper Gotch – The Child Enthroned (1894)

Gotch then began to compose in the manner for which he is best known: called by Pamela Lomax “imaginative symbolism” in her book, The Golden Dream.

“His new combination of symbolic female figures, decorative Italian textiles and the static order of early Renaissance art finally brought him recognition.” (Betsy Cogger Rezelman)

Together with the other Pre-Raphaelites, Gotch was inspired by Medievalism as is evident in his Alleluia (1896).

Thomas Cooper Gotch  – Alleluia (1896)

Thomas Cooper Gotch – Alleluia (1896)

Gotch’s daughter Phyllis appeared in several of his paintings, as well as modeling for the Newlyn-associated artist Elizabeth Forbes.  The Gotchs traveled extensively, not only in Italy, but France, Belgium, Austria, Denmark and Australia and South Africa too.  Gotch was fortunate to have enjoyed recognition during his lifetime.  In his older years he continued to paint children in an increasingly textured style.

Thomas Cooper Gotch – The Flag (1910)

Thomas Cooper Gotch – The Flag (1910)

Silver Light: Dod Procter

Dod Procter (1890-1972) was born Doris Margaret Shaw and at age 15, she moved with her mother and brother to Newlyn in Cornwall, UK to study at the Forbes School. There, she met her future husband Ernest Procter and the pair were considered among the school’s star pupils. In 1910 and 1911, they went to Paris together to study at Atelier Colarossi and were influenced by the Impressionists, Post-impressionists and the artists they met there—most notably Renoir and Cézanne. In 1912, they got married and had a son a year later. They worked together many times, sharing commissions or showing their work together at exhibitions. Procter remained a lifelong artist even after the untimely death of Ernest in 1935. She traveled subsequently to the United States, Canada, Jamaica and Africa.

Starting around 1922, Proctor painted a series of simplified, monumental images of young women with whom she was acquainted. When her painting, Morning, was displayed at the 1927 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, it was voted Picture of the Year and bought by the Daily Mail for the Tate gallery, where it now hangs.  Both the public and critics responded to its style claiming it evoked the west Cornish “silver light”. The model for the work was a Newlyn fisherman’s 16-year-old daughter, Cissie Barnes. The painting made her a household name of the day.

Dod Procter - Morning (1926)

Dod Procter – Morning (1926)

The subjects of her pictures were largely portraits and flowers. During her travels to Jamaica in the 1950s, she painted several works of children. The style and subject matter of Dod Procter’s later works changed considerably and included landscapes, paintings of children and still-lifes.

Dod Procter - Little Sister (1962)

Dod Procter – Little Sister (1962)

She died at age 80 and was buried next to her husband at St. Hilary Church in Cornwall. A book featuring her work, A Singular Vision: Dod Procter by Alison James, was published by Sansom & Co. in 2007.

Soviet Postcards, Part 3: Thomas Couture

As you may have guessed from his name, Thomas Couture (1815-1879) was not a Soviet artist. In fact, he had come and gone well before the Bolshevik Revolution. The reason one of his works appears on a Soviet postcard is that it is one of a massive collection of art works housed at the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Pip already did a post here featuring this image, but I wanted to add this supplementary information.

The State Hermitage (Госуда́рственный Эрмита́ж) is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great. Its collections currently comprise over three million items, including the largest collection of paintings in the world. The museum also boasts several exhibition centers abroad. There is quite a bit online about this institution including video, but you can find the most general information here.

This piece translates as “The Little Bather”.

Thomas Couture - The Little Bather (1849)

Thomas Couture – La petite baigneuse (1849)

It is apropos that Thomas Couture’s work should be so highly regarded by a foreign institution as he always felt he was not adequately recognized for his innovative technique in his native France. Once he became a success, he opened an independent atelier, accepting his own students, in an attempt to challenge the École des Beaux-Arts. In 1867, he published a book on his own ideas and working methods. You can read more details here.

The State Hermitage official website (English)

Ironic Idolatry, et al.

One would be hard-pressed to find any historian who regards little girls as big players in the course of history, yet when one looks closely, they make their presence known. One of the earliest landmark television series on art and history had some of these interesting anecdotes. It was a thirteen-part series called Civilisation, hosted by Kenneth Clark and aired in 1969.

Kenneth Clark, Peter Montagnon & David Attenborough – Civilisation: The Great Thaw (1969) (1)

In the second episode, called The Great Thaw, I was startled to find a few minutes dedicated to a story about the cult of a little girl. It seems that during late Roman times there was a girl who refused to worship idols as a Christian and remained obstinate in the face of persistent social pressure and thus was martyred. Her relics began to work miracles and the cult of Sainte Foy (Saint Faith) began. In the 10th Century, the story of one miracle in Conques, France reached the bishop of Chartres, who then sent Bernard of Angers to investigate. It seems a man’s eyes had been smitten by a jealous priest and he was blinded. Later, when the man visited the shrine of Sainte Foy, his vision was restored. Witnesses claimed that the eyes were taken up to heaven by either a dove or a magpie so that they might be restored. The bishop was satisfied with Angers’ report and ordered that a Romanesque church be built at the site, an important stop on several pilgrimage routes.

Kenneth Clark, Peter Montagnon & David Attenborough – Civilisation: The Great Thaw (1969) (2)

The relic in question was installed in a golden statue studded with gems inside the church. It’s ironic that a little girl who refused to worship idols should be commemorated in this way.

Kenneth Clark, Peter Montagnon & David Attenborough – Civilisation: The Great Thaw (1969) (3)

Kenneth Clark, Peter Montagnon & David Attenborough – Civilisation: The Great Thaw (1969) (4)

Except for it’s small stature, it is hard to imagine this figure represents a little girl. As a matter of convenience, the mask of a late Roman emperor was used to make the face.

Kenneth Clark, Peter Montagnon & David Attenborough – Civilisation: The Great Thaw (1969) (5)

I was pleased to see Kenneth Clark pay attention to the lives of ordinary people during these times, and sometimes that included children. Another notable artwork was a painting by Joseph Wright of Derby. He made a number of paintings that seem to glorify the Age of Reason and the early Industrial Age, but each hints at something more disturbing and foreboding. An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump was a painting illustrating how gentlemen of leisure would conduct scientific experiments, this time studying the effects of removing the air on a hapless cockatoo. As one examines the center of the scene, we see two elegant and tender-hearted girls showing distress at this spectacle. One gentleman seems to be explaining to them the necessity of such endeavors while another seems to be expressing doubts.

Joseph Wright of Derby – An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (1768)

The creation of the Civilisation series is itself a remarkable story, and I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in European history or art. The U.S. was conducting early experiments with color television in the mid and late sixties, but the results were garish and simplistic. U.K. critics were questioning whether color was really worth the effort. In 1965, David Attenborough was put in charge of BBC2 and his mandate was to make the network innovative; he decided to introduce color and better image resolution as its mainstay. Kenneth Clark was a historian and a popular figure in British media but, approaching age 70, he had yet to learn the subtleties of presenting in a TV format. Attenborough and other producers felt that BBC2‘s color debut should be something really stunning, and it was decided to do a series on Western European art and to actually bring the relevant architecture, sculpture, paintings and music directly to the TV audience. Because this series was an ambitious endeavor, budget costs were understandably high, but Attenborough felt the series was of such high quality that it could be shown twice a week, effectively halving its air-time budget. As few had color televisions, many people organized Civilisation parties each week so that friends could share the experience.

Another innovation was the use of the subtitle “A Personal View,” used by the BBC many times hence. The problem was that Clark had an interesting but subjective view of history, and this phrase was added in anticipation to the inevitable scholarly objections. Clark had difficulty integrating the Spanish contribution to art and simply decided it was easier to ignore it. To Attenborough, it made perfect sense to use art history as a showcase for color, but he had a background in zoology and caught some flak from his associates, who felt his first major venture should have been about natural history. He made up for this by producing The Ascent of Man and then Life on Earth shortly thereafter. These successful series established the BBC’s reputation and style for the coming decades.

More about Civilisation

Wikipedia: Kenneth Clark

Wikipedia: David Attenborough

Flowerbuds of the Desert: Girls and Orientalism, Pt. 2

Continuing with our assortment of Orientalist works . . .

Eva Roos – Young Girl

Wikipedia: Eva Roos

Frederick Goodall – An Egyptian Flower Girl

Frederick Goodall – The Song of the Nubian Slave

The Goodall Family of Artists: Frederick Goodall, R.A. (official site)

Wikipedia: Frederick Goodall

Gaston Casimir Saint-Pierre – Orientale à la tortue, aux bains

Gaston Casimir Saint-Pierre – The Approach of the Master

Gustave Achille Guillaumet – Intérieur à Bou-Saâda – scène orientale

Gustave Achille Guillaumet – Deux enfants arabes assis

Wikipedia: Gustave Achille Guillaumet

Isidore Pils – Kabyles

Wikipedia: Isidore Pils

I really like this next painting. Yes, young children are the same everywhere.

John Bagnold Burgess – The Meeting of East and West

Wikipedia: John Bagnold Burgess

John Singer Sargent – Nude Egyptian Girl (1891)

Tons of online resources for Sargent . . .

John Singer Sargent: The Complete Works

JSS Virtual Gallery

Wikipedia: John Singer Sargent

Edwin Lord Weeks – Moorish Girl Lying on a Couch, Rabat, Morocco

Antonio Fabrés y Costa – Young Oriental Girls

Wikipedia: Antonio Fabrés

Paul Alexandre Alfred Leroy – Idle Moments

Paul Alexandre Alfred Leroy – Portrait of a Young Girl

Paul Elie Dubois – Jeune Morocaine à Figuig 

Paul Elie Dubois – Pastorale au Hoggar

Paul Elie Dubois – The Family of Tinguelouz from Hoggar

Rudolf Ernst (attributed) – An Eastern Bazaar

Wikipedia: Rodolf Ernst

Flowerbuds of the Desert: Girls and Orientalism, Pt. 1

Largely a byproduct of the 19th century West’s fascination with Eastern cultures, particularly those of the Middle East, the Orientalist trend in art was widespread in British and European art.  The bright colors and exotic locales (not to mention the more overt eroticism that could be portrayed when dealing with foreign subjects, since they were considered less civilized anyway) attracted artists like a magnet.  One especially tempting draw for these painters were harem scenes, for obvious reasons, and it should be no surprise to anyone that occasionally the subjects were young adolescent girls.  While it is true that there is often an implicit, if not explicit, racism in the attitudes of these Western artists and their portrayals of the Middle East, it is also fair to say that there was likewise a deep-seated admiration, and perhaps even a kind of respect, for a culture which to many Westerners must’ve evoked the scenes and peoples of the Bible, including the harem, which is a tradition that stretches into the ancient histories of the Middle East, Southeast Asia and even in parts of South America.

It is important to note that the Western conception of the harem as a kind of lush prison full of the sultan’s or king’s hundreds of sex slaves, aside from being largely an exaggerated myth of the xenophobic Occidental world, is also a rather simplistic notion of what the harem was.  Essentially the harem was the domain of the women, children and concubines of a Middle Eastern royal’s family, forbidden to all males save for eunuchs and the king, sultan or other high-ranking royalty or leaders, which would include his wives, mother, daughters, and even sons until they came of age.  The harem could be a kind of paradise, a feminine oasis, and other than the slaves and servants, women had a good deal of power here that they would not have outside the harem’s walls.

Like Symbolism, Orientalism was less an artistic movement in itself than a loose confederation of art addressing a common theme.  Ergo, there are many different artists with a wide range of styles that fit into the Orientalist tradition.

Carl Timoleon von Neff – Harem Beauty (1859)

Alois Hans Schramm – Bedouin with Young Girl

Alois Hans Schramm – Counting the Bounty

Armand Point – An Arab Weaver

Armand Point – An Arab Weaver (detail)

Henry d’Estienne – An Arab Girl Carrying Bread

Henry d’Estienne – Jeune orientale aux bijoux

Jean Launois – Juive d’El Oued et son enfant

Marc Alfred Chataud – Fillettes algériennes

Paul Désiré Trouillebert – Harem Servant Girl (1874)

Wikipedia: Paul Trouillebert

Made of Sterner Stuff: Albert E. Sterner’s Illustration and Painting

As an avid fan of illustration and an illustrator myself, I mostly encounter new artists through their illustration work.  So it was with Albert Edward Sterner, an English-born American illustrator, painter and lithographer who is best known for his American magazine illustrations and posters.  He eventually moved to Paris, where he studied with some topnotch artists, including Jules Lefebvre and Jean-Léon Gérôme.  He rounded out his career as an art instructor in New York City.

Albert Edward Sterner – Olivia (1903)

Albert Edward Sterner – Portrait of Miss Marion Hoffman (1907)

Albert Edward Sterner – Olivia Age 6, Newport, Rhode Island (1911)

Albert Edward Sterner – Kiss of the Angel (1914)

Albert Edward Sterner – First Steps (1930s)

Albert Edward Sterner – Portrait of a Young Girl

Wikipedia: Albert Sterner

I am also linking to an online book called Ten Tales, written by François Coppée and illustrated by Sterner. A couple of the illustrations are of little girls, but rather than post them here I just figured I would link to the book, which is contained in its entirety at the Project Gutenberg site. You may enjoy reading the stories; they are quintessentially Victorian–bathetic and rooted in Christian ethics–but well-crafted.

Ten Tales

Victorian Christmas Assortment

This is just an assortment of Victorian-era paintings (and one sculpture).  I have nothing much to say here, so I’m just going to post the images . . .

Agathe Röstel – Am Weihnachtsmorgen (Christmas Morning)

David J. Jacobsen – Selling Christmas Trees (1853)

Bernhard Plockhorst – Martin Luther on Christmas Eve with His Family (1888)

Wikipedia: Bernhard Plockhorst

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller – Christmas Morning (1844)

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller – A Traveling Family of Beggars is Rewarded by Poor Peasants on Christmas Eve (1834)

Wikipedia: Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

Hans Stubenrauch – Christmas Time

Henri Jules Jean Geoffrey – The Drop of Milk in Belleville: The Christmas Tree at the Dispensary (1908)

Joseph Clark – A Christmas Dole

Sophie Gengembre Anderson – Christmas Time – “Here’s the Gobbler!”

Wikipedia: Sophie Gengembre Anderson

The Famous Artists: Sophie Gengembre Anderson

William C. T. Dobson – Christmas Roses (1881)

Thomas Falcon Marshall – Christmas Morning (1865)

Franz Skarbina – Under the Christmas Tree (1892)

Wikipedia: Franz Skarbina

Maud Humphrey Bogart – Vintage Christmas

Jeanne Itasse – Sabot de Noël (Christmas Shoe) (1)

Jeanne Itasse – Sabot de Noël (Christmas Shoe) (2)