Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hard Working Ruth

Ruth in a medieval illumination. Already the hard working girl what made her so popular.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dirty Old Man

Lot and his daughters by the French painter Lubin Baugin (c. 1612-1663). One of the daughters helds the wine jug the other is pushing the fathers hand with the cup, but despite all of that, I think there is still a very horny old man.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Farewell to Live

Jephthah's daughter (1866) one of the Bible illustrations by the French engraver Paul Gustave Doré (1832–1883).
The young girl is here celebrating and lamenting her upcoming sacrifice. A really strange story!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Lady With Her Servant

Judith and the Head of Holofernes (1580) by the Italian Renaissance painter Paolo Veronese (1529-1588).

Judith has already cut off the head and is now packing it in some blankets. Interesting is that Judith here depicted as an elegant blond European noble woman, while her servant seems to be an African slave like it was fashionable in Renaissance Italy.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Trophy

Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist (c. 1506–7) by the Itallian painter Andrea Solari (?-1524).

This Renaissance painting reminds with the costumes of the Salomes by Lucas Cranach but it’s much more dynamic.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lusty Lady

Potiphar’s Wife (1914) by the German painter Lovis Corinth (1858–1925). Corinth was an influential impressionist painter. Here he shows with easy brushstrokes a voluptuous lusty woman scaring the poor Joseph. It’s a lot about female self-confidence.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Magnificent Lady

Delilah by the French painter Gustave Moreau (1826–1898). Moreau was fascinated by gorgeous destructive women Eve, Delilah, Salome, Helen or Cleopatra. He painted various Delilahs alone.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Great Sacrifice

Sarah presents Hagar to Abraham by the Dutch golden age painter Mathias Stom (c. 1600 - after 1649). That’s a rare scenery. Stom depicts here how the old Sarah brings her young and fertile (!) servant Hagar to the bed of her beloved husband, a really enormous sacrifice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Treacherous Redhead

Eve (1896) by the French artist Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer (1865-1953). Levy-Dhurmer was a Symbolist/Art Nouveau painter and shows here a femme fatale who seems best friend with the devilish snake.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Showing Boobs

Bathsheba by the Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)

Maybe that it’s a typical Bathsheba painting: She with her servants, and in the distance king David on the balcony. But there’s a little more. The way how she’s exhibiting boobs and legs goes way further. And last not least was the little dog a symbol for prostitution. So Rubens left no doubt, that Bathsheba used all her tricks to seduce king David.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jezebel’s Death

Jezebel’s Death by the French artist Paul Gustave Doré (1832–1883).

That’s another one of Doré’s Bible illustrations of 1866. Here he shows how the evil queen is thrown out of the window of her palace. Down on the street there are already waiting the dogs which will devour her body.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vigorous Nude

Judith (c.1540) by the Flemish Renaissance painter Jan Sanders van Hemessen (1500–1556).

Here a completely nude Judith is raising self confident a heavy sword. She has a strong athletic body and is ready to cut of the head of the sleeping Holofernes. An impressive painting.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Heavy Drinking

Another version of Lot and his daughters by the Italian Baroque painter Gian Francesco Barbieri (1591-1666). Here it seems that the daughters even forced the poor father to drink. Remains the question, why he’s already half naked?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Cool Affair

Joseph and Potiphar's Wife (c.1631) by the Italian Baroque Era Painter Guido Reni (1575-1642).

Reni focuses on the moment when Joseph is fleeing leaving behind his cloak. But of the dramatic action there is not much to see, she looks pretty cool, nearly tired, and Joseph seems kind of playing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oriental Princess

Salome (1882) by the French painter Jean Baptiste Hippolyte de Vergeses (1847-1896).

Vergeses depicts here the biblical Salome in an oriental look, like the popular oriental paintings of this time. She looks more like a kind of Scheherazade in One Thousand and One Nights than a biblical woman. Only the head on the plate leaves no doubt about who she really is.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Samson and Delilah

Samson and Delilah (1537) by the German Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1533).
As it was normal in that time the painting is full of narrative details. First there is Delilah cutting the hair. The hero is barefoot, indicating that he’s sleeping. On the other hand he wears his armor to show that he’s a warrior. In front of him there is the jawbone his most famous weapon, with which he killed once a thousand men. And in the woods are already approaching his enemies, to take him prisoner.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not so Shy Susanna

Susanna by the Italian painter Francesco Hayez (1791-1882)

Suanna doesn’t look very surprised, quite the contrary she’s kind of presenting herself. She turns to the onlooker making clear that he’s the voyeur.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Courtly Lady

The finding of Moses by the Italian rococo painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770).

Tiepolo focuses here completely on the courtly lady with her servants, entourage and dogs. Paintings like this were always a appeal for patronage. The rich and powerful noblewoman would show her generosity.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sin thy Name Is Woman

The Sin (1893) by the German symbolist painter Franz von Stuck (1863-1928).

The snake and the women are here inseparably interwoven, they are only two faces of the same subject. The woman may be Eve, Lilith or the devil herself, she’s a dangerous seductress. After all that’s nothing new. Eve always has been a kind of demon, but at the end of the 19th century it seems that this is all what’s left.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Blond Beauty

Bathsheba (1720) by the Italian painter Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734).

Another version of Bathsheba. Here Ricci shows a wider environment. An impressive palace, numerous servants, and in the distance king David peeping. Bathsheba is a typical European blond baroque beauty.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weary Warrior

Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1726) by the Dutch Baroque painter Philip van Dijk (1683 –1753).

Van Dijk depicted here a pale exhausted Judith, who is leaning on her sword. She’s tired from making love to the enemy but also from her bloody work.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bad Jezebel

Elijah Confronting Ahab and Jezebel in Naboth's Vineyard (1875) by the English painter Sir Frank Bernard Dicksee (1853–1928).

Typical for the time the artist tries to be as exact as possible in the historical presentation of the subject. Many of this paintings were very popular and used – like this one – to illustrate books.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Art Deco Salome

Salome by the Greek American artist John Vassos (1898–1985). Vassos was a famous Art Décor designer, painter and illustrator. In 1927 he made the illustrations for a new edition of Oscar Wilde’s Salome. The result are a some impressive dynamic and cool interpretations.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Queen of the Orient

Queen Esther (1878) by the English painter Edwin Longsden Long (1829-1891).

Long was an specialized in historical, biblical and oriental subjects. So it isn’t surprising that he spent great efforts on the historical details like costumes, architecture and furniture. Because of that the result is more a history painting than a biblical one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Drunken Lot

Lot and his daughters from the 16th century by an unknown Flemish painter. The girls are getting their father really drunk. The one who’s receiving the fathers advances looks totally bored.
From a modern perspective the neo-Roman clothes are much more interesting. Must be one of the first examples, that an European artist painted his subjects in a kind of historical costumes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Renaissance Girl

Susanna and the Elders by the Italian Renaissance painter Bernardino Luini (c. 1480/82-1532).

Luini came from Leonardo's circle and it’s easy to see how with the Italian Renaissance started a new era in art. Realistic faces like this were impossible even in late medieval art.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

A strong mother

Hagar and Ishmael by the English painter Frederick Goodall (1822-1904). Here the mother is still strong, totally concentrated on the long march in the desert. Ishmael is also carrying the vital water but above all he’s depending on his mother. She’s marching on.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Snake Goddess

Probably the most inconsistent and multifaceted icon of all bible women is the women with the snake. In her person are blending various myths and characters. At first there is Eve the first woman, the wife of Adam and the primordial mother of all mankind.

But Eve is already much more than this, she also seduces Adam and becomes therefore an ally of the serpent. So frequently she is painted with an apple as the symbol of temptation and the snake as the symbol of the devil. But in many cases these symbols are convertible. For example the apple alone is mostly already a symbol for Eve or the devil, as the snake can be a symbol for Eve and the seduction.

Probably this was from the beginning like this. Because the snake is made of various older mother and fertility goddesses like Ishtar or Astarte. The snake was a very old an powerful symbol of fertility and life, but also wisdom and medicine. The monotheistic and Jewish religion transformed these older female gods into lesser demons like Lilith, the legendary first wife of Adam.

Women with snakes are always seductive and at least a little evil. Maybe they are more orientated at Eve the mother, Eve the seductress or Lilith the demon.

Interesting is also that many modern interpretations, which pretend to be non or even anti Christian, are also depicting the snake women as demons. And because of that they reveal a much greater influence of the Old Testament than of that older oriental cults they pretend to renew. The ancient Snake Goddesses weren’t demons at all but chthonic, helpful deities.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cruel Sacrifice

Jephthah's daughter a medieval illumination from the so called Maciejowski Bible of the 13th century.

In this cruel scene Jephtah is sacrificing his daughter how he has vowed to God and there’s no Angel of Salvation coming to stop him.
Cruel story by the way, I never understood it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Femme Fatale

Judith and Holofernes (c.1927) by the German painter Franz von Stuck (1863-1928). Stuck painted here a self-confident strong woman who is ready to behead the helpless man to her feet. It’s easy to see how she enjoys the bloody work and the power.

So she’s less the personification of a biblical legend, but much more a modern femme fatale of the roaring twenties. To made that clear Stuck gave her the typical hairdo of that time.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pharaoh's Daughter and Moses

The finding of Moses by the French artist Paul Gustave Doré (1832–1883), one of his Bible illustrations of 1866.

Pharaoh's daughter and her entourage are here depicted in a proper historical manner. So that the scenery looks realistic. But the stage light from above focusing on the basket with Moses reveals the artificial construction of the whole setting.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gorgeous Lady

Potiphar’s Wife (1914) by the Russian artist Léon Samoilovitch Bakst (1866-1924).

Bakst was a painter but became famous as a scene- and costume designer who revolutionized the arts he worked in. Here he painted the costume of Potiphar’s Wife, it’s that of a kind of exotic, strange and powerful lady. Unlike many of his colleagues he doesn’t pretend to be "realistic", but probably an Egyptian noble would have look like this to a poor Jewish slave.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Comic Salome

Here’s Salome on an older cover of the comic Vampirella. Interesting is not only the survival of the old story in comics, but more the mixture of Salome and the myth of the Snake queen, the goddess of evil. Normally she is represented by Lilith or sometimes Eva, but today it seems that these old myths are blended into one.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Medieval Nude

This Bathsheba is from a medieval illuminated manuscript.

It contains already all important ingredients of this subject: A beautiful nude posing, two servants indicating a rich lady and king David peeping on his balcony.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another Nude Susanna

Susannah at her bath (1874) by the French painter Hugues Merle (1823-1881).

Merle was a student of Léon Cogniet; and a friend of William Bouguereau. So he’s typical for that perfect academic style in the second half of the 19th century. Normally he painted sentimental and moral subjects from literature and history. His Susanna here was a good opportunity to show a beautiful nude girl. That she looks more like a French girl of that time wasn’t a problem, probably it helped selling the painting.

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.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Supeman’s Weakness

Lois Lane as Delilah is cutting Superman’s hair and robbing him his superpowers. A charming comic adaptation of the old myth.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tamar in the Shadows

This Tamar is by an anonymous painter of the Rembrandt School. Disguised Tamar seduces Judah her father-in-law to become pregnant. Impressing is the play of light and shadow.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Blond Esther

This Esther is an illustration of a popular bible. I don’t know the artist but it’s in the typical Art Deco style of the 1930’s. Despite pretending to depict Esther the girl looks much more than a blonde Wagnerian Valkyrie.