The Girls of Summer, Pt. 3

Alas, summer is drawing to close here in the Northern Hemisphere, but we have time to get one more of these in before it officially ends next Tuesday, September 22nd.  Let’s begin.

We’ll start with a video clip.  This is the opening scene from the German film The Baader Meinhof Complex, directed by Uli Edel. I won’t say much about the film itself, other than that it is based on a real political group that was active in Germany during the late ’60s and the ’70s.  You really should watch it.  The opening scene features the twin daughters of the Ulrike Meinhof character frolicking on a nude beach.

Uli Edel - The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)

The Baader Meinhof Complex (official site)

Our next piece is from a photographer by the name of Elliston Lutz.  I couldn’t tease out much information about him from the internet, but I know he generally shoots (mostly adult) fashion photography.  This piece probably comes from a fashion shoot, but I couldn’t tell you which one.  In addition to this lovely photo, there’s a short video Lutz shot a few years ago for Guess Kids featuring child singer Jackie Evancho along with some other children.  You can watch that here if you’re interested.

Elliston Lutz - (Title Unknown)

Elliston Lutz – (Title Unknown)

This next artist is one of my absolute faves, and I’ve featured his work here before, in the Bare Beach Babies series.  Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (usually shortened to just Joaquín Sorolla) was a Spanish painter who specialized in Impressionistic beach scenes, mostly featuring children.  This one is aptly titled Summer.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida - Summer (1904)

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida – Summer (1904)

Wikipedia: Joaquín Sorolla

Well, what would this series be if I didn’t post at least one image by Jock Sturges?  You’ve probably seen this one before—it is one of Sturges’ most iconic images, as it features his favorite model Misty Dawn.

Jock Sturges - Misty Dawn

Jock Sturges – Misty Dawn

Wikipedia: Jock Sturges

Here’s another artist that’s appeared on the blog before, Russian painter Tatiana Deriy.  This piece references the fact that Greek goddess of beauty Aphrodite (and her Roman equivalent Venus) was supposedly born out of the sea.  That’s one of the creation myths surrounding her anyway.  There are actually several, but this is the one artists tend to gravitate to in depicting her birth.

Tatiana Deriy - The Young Aphrodite (2004)

Tatiana Deriy – The Young Aphrodite (2004)

ArtRussia: Tatyana Deriy

Here’s a photo by noted photographer George S. Zimbel.  The title, Space Babies, seems like an odd choice for a photo of children lying on the beach, but it was taken in 1959, the height of the Space Age, which kicked off in 1957 with the launch of the satellite Sputnik.  And these girls, dressed in their sunglasses and sleek swimsuits, were thoroughly modern kiddos of their time.

George S. Zimbel - Space Babies, Jones Beach, New York, 1959

George S. Zimbel – Space Babies, Jones Beach, New York, 1959

George S. Zimbel (official site)

There weren’t really any closeup shots in the other two Girls of Summer posts, so I decided to remedy that by including this photo by Jorge Pérez Carsí, a Spanish photographer from Valencia.  Its title translates to The Summer Holiday of Angela.

Jorge Pérez Carsí - El veraneo de Angela

Jorge Pérez Carsí – El veraneo de Angela

Fotocommunity: Jorge Pérez Carsí

Although it’s in black & white, this is actually a painting.  Carl Hans Schrader-Velgen actually painted many of these nudes in nature scenes, though usually he focused on adult women.  It’s unusual to see scenes of boys and girls bathing nude together, though they became more frequent as the twentieth century progressed.

Carl Hans Schrader-Velgen - Heisser Tag (1913)

Carl Hans Schrader-Velgen – Heisser Tag (1913)

I actually included a photo by this next photographer in the last Girls of Summer post.  This little girl looks like she would love to jump into that nice cool water, doesn’t she?

This image appeared on this artist’s Flickr account here.

Jonas Elmqvist - Summer by the Sea

Jonas Elmqvist – Summer by the Sea

Our next artist, who goes by the online moniker Pretty, is a Russian photographer who utilizes some special effects in her work.  There’s something that calls to mind mythological or fantasy art in this piece.

Pretty - The Girl and the Sea

Pretty – The Girl and the Sea

Pretty (official site)

Our next artist is painter Ariana Richards.  If that name sounds familiar, it should.  Richards is best known as an actress who appeared most notably as a child in the films Jurassic Park (as Lex Murphy) and Tremors (as Mindy Sterngood).  She still acts occasionally, but these days she mostly devotes herself to painting, at which she is quite talented, even winning awards for her work.  As an adolescent she occasionally did some modeling too, even appearing in a Japanese magazine.

Ariana Richards - Hannah & Dylan

Ariana Richards – Hannah & Dylan

Gallery Ariana (official site)

Wikipedia: Ariana Richards

David Hurn is an English documentary and celebrity photographer of Welsh descent.  Miners’ Week (a.k.a. Miners’ Fortnight) was an event in which miners and their families would descend on the peninsula of Barry Island off the coast of South Wales during a certain time every summer, packing the beaches.  You can see more photos and read a bit about it here.

David Hurn - Miners' Week at Barry Island

David Hurn – Miners’ Week at Barry Island

Wikipedia: David Hurn

Sven L. is a photographer who is fairly well represented on the web, so it’s odd that he never includes his last name.  I suppose it’s a privacy issue, but whatever the case, he has lots of lovely photos of children—girls mostly—and will certainly be featured here again.  I’m including two of his photos here.  I particularly like the first photo, in which the girl is wearing a filmy translucent shift or slip (and apparently nothing beneath).  I would love to see more images of the girl in this costume—it very much reminds me of the fairies and maidens that appeared in artwork of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Sven Leisering is a German photographer and many of his images are of his own daughters.

Sven L. - Beach (2011)

Sven L. – Beach (2011)

Sven L. - Panorama (2011)

Sven L. – Panorama (2011)

Flickr: Sven L.

The girl who appears in this next painting is a little older than what we ordinarily would post here, but I quite like this painting and just had to share it.  It is by French Symbolist and Orientalist painter Armand Point.  I particularly adore the girl’s hair.

Armand Point - The Bather

Armand Point – The Bather

Wikipedia: Armand Point

Here is a photo by Russian photographer (of course) Yanina Arkhangelskaya.  I could not trace this one back to its source unfortunately, and there seems to be nothing else about the artist online.

Information on this artist is indeed sparse but a few images can be found here.

Yanina Arkhangelskaya - (Title Unknown)

Yanina Arkhangelskaya – (Title Unknown)

Another Russian photographer, Vadim Petrakov, was a bit easier to find.  He has done quite a lot of work for the stock photography site Shutterstock.  Of course, this image did not come from there.  I also have another photo of these siblings by the same photographer, but I liked this one better.

This photo appears on PhotoSight here and his user account is here.  He also has a Photoline account.

Vadim Petrakov - Brother and Sister

Vadim Petrakov – Brother and Sister

Annie Cassez is a French painter and illustrator.  I actually think she’s a better still life painter than a portraitist, but I do like this piece.

Annie Cassez - La Chilienne (2010)

Annie Cassez – La Chilienne (2010)

Annie Cassez (official site)

Laimis is probably another photographer I discovered on a Russian photography site, but who knows for sure?  I could find nothing else about this artist online.  What I like about this photo is the children’s well-defined musculature.  These are kids in their prime for sure.

This image appears on a controversial Russian website called Imagesource.  The rhetoric has it that it is really a pornographic website pretending be another Flickr.  Be that as it may, Laimis simply shoots in the style of street photography and has an interest in subjects (mostly boys) he finds on the beach.  This user has 30 albums with this account.

Laimis - (Title Unknown)

Laimis – (Title Unknown)

Here’s the final piece, and yep, it’s by another Russian photographer.  Her name is Oksana Tseatsura, though she occasionally goes by Sana.  This photo is titled, appropriately enough, The Last Summer Day.  And that’s it for our Girls of Summer!  Well, for this year anyway . . .

Oksana Tseatsura - The Last Summer Day

Oksana Tseatsura – The Last Summer Day Oksana Tseatsura


Cherry Ripe!

There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies grow;
A heav’nly paradise is that place
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow.
There cherries grow which none may buy,
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.

The above is the first stanza of Thomas Campion’s poem “There is a Garden in Her Face,” a paean to a beautiful virginal girl. How do we know this? We must first put it into historical context. Cherry vendors in England traditionally used the call “Cherry ripe!” to let people know that cherries were ready to buy. If we apply this fact to the poem, we see that the man is describing a girl that, while beautiful, is not yet ready to be “bought”—that is, she hasn’t quite reached sexual maturity. Campion admires this girl for her sexual purity, which he acquaints with spiritual purity. Here we have a basic explanation for the Victorian cult of the girl (which followed Campion by a couple hundred years): girls, because of their perceived innocence and sweetness, were considered above all other natural human groups to be the closest to God, so long as they maintained their virginity, hence British society’s horror of the underground culture of girls being kidnapped and deflowered—brought to light by W. T. Stead’s series The Maiden Tribute to Modern Babylon, and likely highly exaggerated therein—which compelled Britain’s Parliament to raise the age of consent from 13 to 16.

In terms of cherries being associated with young girls and virginity, many people seem to be under the impression that slang terms like cherry, in reference to the hymen, was invented by their generation, or at least the generation before theirs. In fact, this is not so:

cherry […] Meaning “maidenhead, virginity” is from 1889, U.S. slang, from supposed resemblance to the hymen, but perhaps also from the long-time use of cherries as a symbol of the fleeting quality of life’s pleasures.”

There we have it. The slang term dates at least to 1889, but I suspect the association of this particular fruit with virginity dates further back than even Campion’s poem, which was first published in 1617. And we are also given another, older, symbolism for cherries in the above etymology: they stand for the fleeting quality of physical pleasure. This too can be tied into sex, but also to childhood, which is itself fleeting. This symbolism is the Western tradition, but even in the East the cherry (and more specifically the cherry blossom) are also associated with maidenhood/virginity. We are more concerned with the Western mode here, but I do find it interesting that such disparate cultures can arrive at a similar symbolic representation, don’t you?

Back to the poem. We get the impression from the final stanza not of a full-grown woman—worldly and self-assured—but of a nervous girl being approached by potential mates, as if she is a wary doe being stalked by wolves on the hunt.

Why am I bringing all of this up? It is to lay the foundation of context for one very interesting painting, that painting being Sir John Everett Millais’s “Cherry Ripe”, a deceptively simple portrait of a little girl in a white dress with pink highlights sitting on a log in the forest . . .

John Everett Millais – Cherry Ripe (1879)

Wikipedia: John Everett Millais

Millais was a Pre-Raphaelite painter, and like most of the Pre-Raphaelites, he loaded his art with symbolism. First, the semiotics of color. White was of course the color of purity. Children, particularly little girls, were often dressed in white for formal portraits. Moreover, the child is placed against a dark and shadowy forest from which any wild beast could emerge and snatch her from her perch; unlike most portraits, which are set safely indoors or illuminated spaces, this one is actually a bit edgy. More likely than not this was intentional on Millais’s part. I have mentioned before that semiotically a white figure against black backdrop stresses the figure’s vulnerability or purity—or, in this case, both—in a morally nebulous world. Pale pink, which is traditionally associated with young girls, is also the color of cherry blossoms, and the child’s flesh is also pinkish. Here we have a figure composed almost entirely of white and pink. The lone exceptions are her eyes and hair and the black gloves, but as they were a conscious choice, it is the gloves that draw our attention.

The gloves are black. The color black has many symbolic interpretations, but here it screams sexuality. Look closely at the girl’s hands: they are placed in her lap and closed together prayer-style, only inverted. The gloves are fingerless, V-shaped and adjacent to her hands, inevitably funneling one’s attention right to the girl’s fleshy, exposed fingers, and (as more than one art critic has pointed out) those fingers happen to resemble a vulva.

Now some questions arise. Was this accidental or deliberate on the part of Millais? I suspect the answer is somewhere in between. And what exactly is Millais saying with this painting? Perhaps he is wrestling with the Victorian notion of the asexual girl-child, and suggesting that it may be a tad more complicated than that. Maybe he’s being ironic. After all, despite the title of the piece, the little girl is clearly nowhere near being “ripe”, and indeed some of the cherries lying at her side belie the title as well. Then again, maybe it is entirely coincidental, but I doubt it.

There is one other possibility I can think of. Millais was a friend of culture/art critic John Ruskin, who was married to Effie Gray at the time they met and became friends. But Ruskin had been married to Effie for several years and had yet to consummate the marriage, owing to, it was rumored, his mortal dread of pubic hair. Ruskin, like Lewis Carroll, had written a book for his beloved when she was still a child. The book was The King of the Golden River. Unlike Carroll, however, Ruskin was eventually able to marry the girl he had eyes for, although Ruskin and Effie were only nine years apart in age whereas Carroll and Alice Liddell were twenty years apart and of different social classes from one another. Anyway, Millais and Effie eventually fell in love, the marriage between Ruskin and Effie was annulled, and Effie remarried Millais, with whom she had eight children. (Side note: The oldest Millais daughter—also called Effie—was even one of Lewis Carroll’s photographic subjects.) Now, Ruskin was a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites, but given the embarrassing situation between Ruskin, Millais and Effie, it is little wonder that Ruskin began to condemn Millais’s post-marriage work, ostensibly because it was of lower quality according to Ruskin, but in reality it is more likely that Ruskin felt slighted and used his power as a critic to avenge the loss of his mate to Millais the best way he knew how. Is it possible, then, that Millais, with the painting “Cherry Ripe,” was publicly mocking Ruskin and his supposed pubic hair phobia? Probably not, but it is worth considering.

And speaking of Lewis Carroll, perhaps the next most famous artwork featuring little girls and cherries after the Millais piece is Carroll’s photo of the Liddell sisters (Edith, Lorina and Alice) in which the oldest girl, Lorina, is feeding Alice a cherry. Alice stands with her head cocked and mouth slightly agape, like a baby bird waiting to be fed by its mother. And, of course, Alice would be the one to be fed, given Carroll’s ongoing fascination with her.

Lewis Carroll – The Three Liddell Sisters (“Open Your Mouth”) (1860)

Wikipedia: Lewis Carroll

The above was one of several Carroll works that Polixeni Papapetrou created a tribute to.

Polixeni Papapetrou – Cherry Group

Polixeni Papapetrou (Official Site)

One step removed from this, cherries—really any fruit, but apples and cherries in particular—can represent transgression, as in the story of Adam and Eve, in which children stand in for the first humans and the crime that brings on their downfall is theft.

Fritz Zuber-Bühler – The Cherry Thieves

Wikipedia: Fritz Zuber-Bühler

Carl Larsson – Forbidden Fruit

Wikipedia: Carl Larsson

Frederick Morgan – Cherry Pickers

Wikipedia: Frederick Morgan (painter)

Note the coy and mischievous expression on this girl’s face:

Charles Amable Lenoir – The Cherrypicker (1900)

Wikipedia: Charles Amable Lenoir

Cherries can also represent intimacy, both romantic and familial.

Paul Hermann Wagner – Idylle mit Atelier (1889)

Lord Frederick Leighton – Mother and Child (1865)

Lord Frederic Leighton: The Complete Works

Wikipedia: Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton

Franz von Defregger – Kinder beim Kirschenessen (1869)

Wikipedia: Franz Defregger

Cherries can become an amusement for little girls playing at being women.

Frederick Morgan – Cherry Earrings (1)

Frederick Morgan – Cherry Earrings (2)

Frederick Morgan – The Cherry Gatherers

Georg Rössler – Mädchen mit Kirschen (1901)

But mostly cherries were just colorful eye-catchers that helped to emphasize the vibrancy and ruddy healthiness of youth . . .

Emile Vernon – The Cherry Bonnet (1919)

John Russell – Little Girl with Cherries (1780)

Wikipedia: John Russell (painter)

Friedrich von Kaulbach – Kirschen (Cherries)

Wikipedia: Friedrich Kaulbach

Fritz Zuber-Bühler – The First Cherries

Finally, a couple of curious contemporary artworks in which girl meets fruit; to be honest, I’m not sure exactly what to make of these.

Rene Lynch – Wonderland: Cherry Picking (2005)

Rene Lynch (Official Site)

I will say one thing about this final piece: Pay attention to how the little nude girl unwittingly mimics the lithe erotically posed woman in the magazine her mother is holding.

Tatiana Deriy – Little Cherry

(Editor’s update, 2015/11/06: There is a larger image of Little Cherry on Tatiana Deriy’s website.)

Happy New Year!


Alexander Gulyaev – New Year

Andre Henri Dargelas - New Year's Day

Andre Henri Dargelas – New Year’s Day

Cherri Wood - Happy New Year

Cherri Wood – Happy New Year

Cherri Darling (Cherri Wood’s blog – it features a LOT of her art.)

Corwin Corax - New Year's Firefly

Corwin Corax – New Year’s Firefly

Elizabeth Bem - Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

Elizabeth Bem – Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

Sergei Dunchev - On New Year

Sergei Dunchev – On New Year

Tatiana Deriy - New Year's Fairy Tale

Tatiana Deriy – New Year’s Fairy Tale

ArtRussia: Tatyana Deriy

Walter Molino - New Year Begins

Walter Molino – New Year Begins

And the best for last . . . Illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, like his contemporary Norman Rockwell, was best known for his numerous covers for the Saturday Evening Post. While Rockwell may be the more famous of the two (though I’d say not by much), I personally prefer Leyendecker’s work to Rockwell’s. He did several of the new year’s covers which always featured Baby New Year in some amusing vignette that frequently referenced events of the time. A few of these even broke from the tradition of portraying Baby New Year as a boy, and so these are apropos to this blog:

J.C. Leyendecker - Cover for The Saturday Evening Post, December 30th, 1911

J.C. Leyendecker – Cover for The Saturday Evening Post, December 30th, 1911

J.C. Leyendecker - Cover for The Saturday Evening Post, January 1st, 1916

J.C. Leyendecker – Cover for The Saturday Evening Post, January 1st, 1916

Wikipedia: J.C. Leyendecker

American Art Archives: J.C. Leyendecker