The following photo, Burnt by the Sun by Natalia Kharitonova, won Third Prize in a jury selection at the New York Center of Photographic Art last summer. It was recently censored by Instagram shortly after it was posted. In private emails from Instagram, the artist was advised that it was necessary to cover up the breasts of children, and therefore posting it was “unethical”. Kharitonova responded that, “It’s not ethical for me to just draw triangles on children …” Of course, Instagram is a private company and so little can be done about it at the moment. For the time being, it does still appear on Facebook, but who knows how long it will be able to remain there.
With the continuing advance of technology, there are always new ways to express one’s artistic intentions. The irony here is that this artist should use such technology to convey a message that makes us contemplate our own humanity.
The ‘Nu du Ciel’ series of nudes were shot from a camera-mounted drone popular these days with techno-geeks and scenes were set up on the ground to create amusing compositions normally observed from a perpendicular view. Included is this one charming shot of two children. I recommend taking a look at this installation; it will make you chuckle.
Pasqué shares his thoughts about the significance of nudes on his website. Here’s an excerpt translated into English thanks to Christian.
We never stay indifferent in front of a nude. Sculpture, engraving, painting, photography, no matter the form, the nude attracts the eye. Certainly because man is a sexual being. But how to innovate in this art that has gone through the ages? By propelling it precisely in the air of time, in the era of drones! … These nude bodies seen from the sky, staged in varied landscapes, put in light all the beauty and richness of our planet. Their nudity is like an echo to the fragility of our environment. To remind us that, if the earth still has the look of Eden, it is time for us to change our lifestyles and consumption if we want to safeguard this true paradise …
I am a regular reader of the French blog Les Éditions du Faune devoted to art and literature. On September 27 it published a good article on an interesting Swedish painter, Ivar Arosenius, who lived only 30 years.
Born on October 8, 1878, he started to study art at age 17; as an independent mind, he attended different schools until he returned to his old teacher who respected his freedom to explore his own fantasy and imagination.
Arosenius mostly painted in watercolours, experimenting with motion, texture and colour. He showed a surreal world which mixed fantasy and reality; in particular he illustrated fairy tales. He also worked for the press by producing satirical caricatures of Swedish society; however he never got a secure place with a journal, as his works, appearing as simple humour, were probably too subversive for a conservative society.
His family paintings show a completely different side of the artist, soft and tender. He often represented his wife Ida Andrea Cecilia (nicknamed Eva) as a fairytale princess or as a Madonna holding their child. He also lovingly painted their only daughter Eva Benedikta Elisabeth (1906–2004), better known by her nickname Lillan.
Arosenius’ most famous work is an illustrated tale that he wrote for Lillan: Kattresan (The Cat Journey), about the adventures of a little girl riding on her cat and discovering the world. A scan of it can be seen on the Swedish Literature Database (see the links on the right for the navigation through its 42 pages). I show a few pages from it; clearly the little girl looks like Lillan.
His wife and friends urged him to publish the book, so he set to improve the drawings, but he could not finish this work, as he died in the night from January the 1st to the 2nd, 1909 from the complications of haemophilia. The book was published posthumously the same year, and it brought fame to Arosenius. Indeed, in May, the Academy of Arts organised at last an exhibition of his work.
I found out that Arosenius made another version of Kattresan for Lillan’s twin cousins, one of whom was named Johanna, or simply Hanna or Hansan. Her grandson published 8 images on his blog from it.
Finally I show two pictures of Lillan in her teens. First a painting of Lillan with her cousin Hanna:
Next an undated photograph of Lillan from around the same time:
Too Short A Season: It has been my goal to manage this site so that models and artists understand that their work is presented with respect, regardless of content. Because we are examining the portrayal of little girls in our society, I felt it important that Pigtails in Paint should be a place where women can be heard and listened to and that they feel safe doing so. On occasion, former models have come forward privately or publicly to share anecdotes or request mementos of their work. Recently Makenzie, a cousin of Samantha Gates, came forward to tell me she was starting a site dedicated to Sam and wanted help contacting artists who used her image in their work. It was fun learning about the various jobs Sam did that no one outside the family knew about and will hopefully one day appear on that site. But after exchanging only a few messages, I got an email from one of her friends Amanda (who has been commenting on this site lately) telling me that Makenzie’s stomach cancer has taken a turn for the worse and that she was in the hospital. I have been informed that she passed away last month survived by a loving extended family and many friends. It is too bad I did not get to know Makenzie better and hear more stories of her girlhood memories. This is the third person I know this year who succumbed to cancer, all before their time: first my youngest aunt, then Poli Papapetrou and now Makenzie. It is said that the world changes one funeral at a time. But what kind of world will we have when it is the good people who leave us?
Life as a Girl Decade after Decade: Pip uncovered an interesting project intended as a book series sharing the testimonial of girls in America living in various decades the past 100 years. The first book, Girlhood in America, shares over 50 stories of life told by the girls themselves and includes a number of photographs as well.
Everyone have a safe and happy Halloween from all of as at Pigtails in Paint! Careful on those roads tonight. Watch out for little witches and goblins! Now, enjoy these vintage Halloween cards from Ellen Clapsaddle.
Marcelin Flandrin was an ethnic European Frenchman born in Algeria in 1889. Sources do not agree on when he went to Morocco, but he was definitely there by 1912 when it became a protectorate of France. Flandrin was an aviator and a photographer and served in the French military in Morocco. When the First World War began in Europe in 1914, Flandrin was transferred to France where he served in the French Army’s photographic department.
After the war, he returned to Morocco and lived in Casablanca. There he worked as a professional photographer, and documented the identity of Casablanca in the 1920s. In 1922 he reported on the visit to the French President to Morocco. In 1924 his photos, along with those of Rudolf Lehnert, were used to illustrate the book Nordafrica. In 1925 he took one of his most famous photos; the last photo of a Barbary Lion in the wild. He was the photographer for the Sultan of Morocco’s trip to France in 1926 . Flandrin was one of the greatest publishers of postcards of his time. He died in 1957.
It is hard to date his photos. Most sources I have seen do not even try to determine in what year his photos were taken. One source gave a “circa 1900” date for professional photographs by Flandrin, although he was only 11 years old at the time. Another source gave a circa 1930 date for the photo Esclaves dans les Bananiers. Slavery was abolished in Morocco in 1925, so it is very unlikely that a photo of slaves would have been taken in 1930. In the captions for the Flandrin photos in this post, the dates are given as circa 1925, but that is only a guess.
Although Flandrin is better known for photos of adults, war photography, and his pioneering work in aerial photography; he made several photos of young girls. Le Seigneur Passe !! is my favorite of his girl photos. The three interlaced arms in the center of the photo, the different directions the models are facing, and the expressions on the faces combine to give the photo a sense of movement and excitement.
The next photo, Les Trois Graces Africaines, shows the same three models in a more relaxed composition. It appears to be a simple photo at first glance, but there may be more to this work than is immediately apparent. I have seen two versions of this photo. The one posted here is the better quality. The other is a mirror image, as if the negative was flipped when it was printed. It is captioned as number 10 of the Nu Académique Marocain series, and has cancelled Moroccan postage stamps affixed. This demonstrates that it was considered respectable enough to be sent through the mail.
Nude art was popular in the early 20th century, but artists often felt that they had to employ contrivances to make the nudes respectable. One was the ethnographic contrivance, in which the nudes were shown as necessary to educate the viewer about a foreign culture. Orientalism, which is the exotic, romantic portrayals of Islamic culture, is a subcategory of that ethnographic contrivance. Another contrivance was to use nudity in the context of classical mythology, and still another was to portray nudity of an innocent prepubescent who could be considered asexual. Note that Flandrin appears to intentionally avoid using any of these contrivances for Les Trois Graces Africaines.
The title of the photo refers to the Three Graces of mythology. However, there is nothing in this photo that is suggestive of mythology. The Three Graces are conventionally portrayed in a line, with the center grace facing the opposite direction from the two on the ends of the line. The title Les Trois Graces Africaines serves to remind the viewer that Flandrin could easily have used this mythological contrivance, but chose not to. The painting below shows how the Three Graces should appear.
Flandrin documented the conditions in Morocco in the 1920s with photos of all ages and both sexes. His works include a few nudes of only prepubescent models, and these may be seen as employing the “innocent, asexual child” contrivance. Four photos of this kind appear below. Three are casual outdoor photos of girls, and one is an indoor photo posed as a model in a life-drawing class. Note that these photos demonstrate that Les Trois Graces Africaines would have worked just as well as Les Deux Graces Africaines, with the two youngest models only. This would have avoided arousing controversy by omitting the fully nude figure of the sexually mature young woman. Flandrin may have chosen to use a young woman with the two girls precisely for the purpose of challenging the viewer.
Flandrin is considered to be an Orientalist photographer, but I don’t think that any of the five photos posted above are Orientalist. The following photo by Lehnert and Landrock, Deux Fillettes Nues, et un Garçonnet, is an example of an Orientalist contrivance. Note the Moorish arch, the decorative tiles on the wall, and the ceramic jugs that give the photo an exotic near-eastern flavor.
The following two photos are examples of Flandrin photos that are Orientalist. In these, he uses the model’s clothing and props to show that these photographs document a non-western culture. However, since there is no nudity in these photos, he does not use Orientalism as a contrivance to make nudity acceptable.
Look again at Les Trois Graces Africaines, Le Seigneur Passe !! , and 18. Nu Académique Marocain. There are no near-eastern props in these photos. Even the hoop earrings would fit in with the art deco styles popular in Europe and America at that time. I believe that Flandrin’s attitude toward nude photography was expressed in the caption for another of his postcards. This was a photo of three nude models appearing quite happy, over an old French proverb that, translated into English is: “Where there is embarrassment, there is no pleasure.” The models were not embarrassed and needed no contrivance to justify their nudity. Flandrin may have thought that the viewer should not need a contrivance either.
Not much information exists on the web about Akos Kozari. What I know is that he’s a Hungarian photographer who specializes in images of nature and urban decay, and sometimes digitally enhanced scenes. Photos of people are rarer, but here are three with young girls in them. I really like the ones of the kids playing in the fountain.
Since Pigtails is the website for the study of girls in art, it is appropriate to include some very early examples. Girls have been a popular subject in art for a very long time.
During the Magdalenian period in Europe (approximately 17,000 BC to 10,000 BC) people lived primarily by hunting. They had no metal tools. It is believed that they lived in tents in the summer, that could be easily moved to follow the herds of game. In the harsh winters of the time, they lived in more substantial shelters or, where caves or rock shelters were available, used them during the winters. Many of their artifacts have been found in rock shelters (overhanging cliffs), and therefore the Magdalenian people have come to be called “cave men”. The cave men are often portrayed as dumb and sub-human. This is not true.
The Magdalenians were Homo sapiens, the same as modern people. A typical group of Magdalenian adults would not be intellectually inferior to a group of modern adults. In fact, there is reason to believe that the Magdalenian adults would be more intelligent than modern people; life was so difficult that those with subnormal intelligence were unlikely to survive to adulthood.
The Magdalenians developed art that reflected this high intellectual level. The cave art at places such as Lascaux in France, Altamira in Spain, and Cresswell in England prove that highly sophisticated art flourished in the Magdalenian period. Most of the cave art consists of paintings or drawings of animals. At Cresswell, however, there are drawings that have been interpreted as dancing girls or women. The drawings are abstract, and do not appear to be representations of the human form to me, but I am not an expert on the conventions of prehistoric art. Dr. Paul Pettit is an expert, and according to him, “I interpret at least two of those long-necked birds as women – possibly some ritual dance undertaken by females, and possibly in the cave itself.” The first illustration is one of the drawings to which Dr. Pettit refers.
The next picture is my favorite example of Magdalenian art. It was found engraved on a rock in La Marche Cave, France, and dates from about 13,000 B.C. The figure wears the bulky clothing necessary for the cold climate of the era. When considered by itself, it may not be obvious if the figure is a girl, a boy, a woman, or a clean-shaven man. When we look at it together with other drawings from La Marche it is easier to interpret. There are drawings of people of both sexes, from a newborn with the umbilical cord still present to the elderly. The ratio of the size of the head to the size of the body indicate that this is a drawing of a juvenile. The dainty size of the feet and feminine features indicate that it is a girl.
The picture has a hurried quality, like a gesture drawing. Note that the legs seem to be double. Is that intentional, or did the artist, who could not erase his engraving, decide to slightly change the position of the legs? Is the girl wearing a cape? Does she have a rectangular object on her lap?
The last example is an ivory figure of a girl that has been named Venus Impudica or Vénus Impudique by modern archaeologists. It was found at Laugerie-Basse in France. It is a little over three inches tall, and is missing its head and feet. It was carved between 15,000 and 10,000 B.C. The breasts of the figure appear to be just beginning to develop, showing that it represents a girl rather than a woman. Venus Impudica is, in my opinion, cruder than the other examples of Magdalenian art in this post. Nevertheless, it has a certain charm about it. It is fascinating to think that it may have been a little girl’s doll. Perhaps a man long ago, with only a chip of flint for a knife, laboriously carved a doll for his beloved daughter. She probably loved her dolly as much as any modern girl loves her more sophisticated machine-made doll.
I plan to do the third post in my “Sublimated Sexuality in Modern Surrealist Girl Art” series soon, but until then I will put up a couple of quickies. These two paintings are by the Victorian/Edwardian-era Italian painter Antonio Mancini. You’d think that an artist once described by John Singer Sargent as the greatest living painter would be better known, but he is considered a minor painter by art historians, which is ironic because he often painted minors. Usually boys, but not always.
This first image is likely a boy (going by the hairstyle and the angularity of the child’s body, but it’s ambiguous enough that I decided to post it anyway. At any rate, I think it’s a nice piece regardless of the child’s gender. The pose is quite feminine, I think.
The subject of this next work, however, is certainly a girl. I’ve always liked those wrap-around bracelets worn on the upper arm. It’s just a nicely exotic look.
My apologies for the lateness of this post. The first of the month happened to fall on a particularly busy time.
It’s Not Easy Being an Angel: When I first made my Sawatari post, I had no idea that the model in question was identified until Pip brought it to my attention. He had already done a post on the ‘Houses of the Holy’ album cover featuring Samantha and Stefan Gates. Later, when doing the Ovenden post, I was shocked to recognize Sam in some of the photographs. Later, it was revealed that she was also the model for a series by Chadwick Hall in which only one example appears on the net. When I got to hear a few testimonials about Sam, by all accounts, she was an angel to work with. But I did notice that in a few unpublished photos, she seemed tired; and so however much she may have enjoyed modeling, it was nonetheless hard work. With so many tidbits of new information coming in, I intended to do just one more post of Samantha Gates to tie everything together. Fortunately, that is no longer necessary. Some of you may already know that some close relatives and friends of Samantha and Stefan have put together a site dedicated to the careers of the two models. Since models rarely get copies from photo shoots, especially commercial ones, much of what the public have access to, the family do not. The first success at tracking down old photos was with Hajime Sawatari who graciously shared a number of unpublished shots. Then came Graham Ovenden’s images (photos and paintings) and even a couple of drawings from Brian Partridge who also happened to have an extensive knitting and crochet catalog collection featuring a very young Sam. Plans are in the works to contact all artists who worked with the Gates children to compile the most extensive collection possible. To top things off, a few private family shots were included to demonstrate the legitimacy of the family connection. It should be noted that Samantha believes in keeping the past in the past and is not directly involved with the site, but gave permission for its inception. Included on the site are some interviews with Sawatari and there are more to come. So take a look at The Samantha Gates Archive. According to the family, Sam was not only a ham for the camera in private life, but was often found munching on one kind of food or another.
Under the Guise of Art: So many uneducated and fanatically religious people have made (often rude) accusations that we are using art to justify pornography. There is simply no accounting for people incapable of comprehending what we are doing. Thankfully, the law has offered some protection and cogent interpretations of the laws will confirm that we are operating legally. More than that, I fervently contend that we also operate ethically and that complaints on moral grounds are an arbitrary deference to doctrine. Our internet provider (Rainbow Digital Media) was particularly angered by a comment (not posted, of course) about what monsters we are. He replied that apart from the disclaimers posted on the Legal page, this site is registered with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) as part of a requirement when the site was hosted in the UK (and previously in Sweden). Especially irritating is the fact that hardcore porn sites can be linked to our site lending a taint by association. We simply cannot do anything about that (any clever ideas?) and we are not allowing such despicable actions to stop us in our mission. Even our old domain name has been hijacked due to unfair technicalities and now is used it to promote pornography. If anyone finds something on this site they believe is illegal, they are invited to report it to the IWF who will notify us of any violations that we must remedy.
YouTube Gripes: I received a message from a reader complaining about the rampant censorship taking place on YouTube. This is hardly news, but the reader had some kind of false impression that we had the power to do something about it and implied we were some kind of hypocrites for not stopping it. It is flattering that people think that we have so much influence, but it should be emphasized that this is a volunteer endeavor and we are only as good as our contributors. Therefore, anyone who seriously wants to do something about this can read on.
Although we cannot stop YouTube from pulling videos that are copyright infringements or violate their standards of conduct (no nudity, for instance), we can preserve examples that deserve it. For instance, the short film The Spy Who Caught a Cold was originally captured from YouTube which was later removed. But as the name suggests, YouTube was really designed for personal videos and low budget and quirky productions by private individuals. Although we can make a copy of videos that have not yet been removed, it is not our business to invade the privacy of contributors. Therefore, however cute and appropriate a video may be for the Pigtails audience, we will not copy and republish anything that is strictly personal. Even though such videos may no longer be available to the general public, they are not really lost if they are kept by the contributor in question. So if you find a video meant for general public viewing and you suspect it is something that might get censored, please notify us so we can keep an archival copy—assuming it is appropriate to do so. Also know that it is not copyright infringement for Pigtails in Paint to do this given that the ultimate goal is to publish a critical review of the material in question.