Saturday, February 5, 2011

Seductive Daughters

Lot and his daughters by Flemish painter Lazarus van der Borcht (working in Antwerp 1601-1611). The poor father is seduced with wine and women. Seeing so much nude skin I think it must have been nearly pornographic in it’s time.


  1. Certain pictorial themes were really an excuse for this.
    Not so?

  2. That's for sure, and especially Lot and his daughters have been always a good excuse.

  3. I struggle to understand why anyone would commission a painting of Lot and his daughters... I understand using mythological and biblical themes as an excuse to paint titillating scenes but surely once you realise that what you're looking at is not just a trio of people having a good time, or a lucky old man with two beautiful girls, and that it is actually a man AND HIS DAUGHTERS surely one's first impulse is 'eeugh!' I'd be pretty concerned if such an act (incest) was found arousing... so why has it been painted so often (in fact more than any other scene from Lot's life)?

  4. Without any doubt an image like this in it's time was a kind of porn.
    And it's probably the pivotal question, why it has been so popular.
    My personal theory is, that it's not so much a father with his daughters but an old man with young girls. And here wet come to the comissioners, rich, older man with power, who probably liked the idea of beeing seduced by girls who could have been theit daughters.

  5. yuk - I say no more! But thanks for replying, I'm writing an essay on this at the moment and I'm just struggling to get my head round it... The paintings differ so drastically from the text, it's odd, and I wonder if 'artistic license' is a good enough excuse!?

  6. No need for thanks. I like to discuss that stuff.
    So if you have for example a look at the paintings by Massys, it's always the same nude or a similar but different subjects. And that's because the subject (Bathsheba, Lot and others) are secondary or less. Important were the nudes.

    Or the paintings by Cranach (no nudes). He painted the same Ladys as Salome or/and Judith. So it wasn't the story neither. He used the stories to paint strong women, maybe also his sponsors.

  7. Going by her face, your first thought is: he seems to be on the verge of discovering a new erogenous zone.

    But when you notice where his hand's actually going, you think: he seems to've invented a totally new form of sex!

  8. That's kind of right. But I think it's because the painter didn't want to cover the "important" parts with the hands.

  9. This is pretty pornographic in our time. Grampa porn. Also, when the people of Sodom wanted to rape a couple angels who visited Lot, he offered up his "virgin" daughters instead. The mob wasn't into it. Anyway, here's the text of the Bible:

    30: And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters.
    31: And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:
    32: Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
    33: And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
    34: And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our Father.
    35: And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.
    36: Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
    37: And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day.
    38: And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.

    I puke a little bit thinking of this whole scene. Disgusting.

  10. That may be right.
    But as I already that, the Bible provided only the subjects to illustrate other things.
    To me it's the only explanation, why artists focused so on the women (epsecially the naked ones) in the bible.