Thursday, October 28, 2010

La Femme Damnée by Octave Tassaert

La Femme Damnée (The Damned Women) by Octave Tassaert (1800-1874)

This splendid painting which is attributed (although fairly firmly) to Tassaert shows three women seducing a fourth.  Depicted in an unusual, high angle view, the girl on the left is kissing the seductee and fondling her breast, the girl on the right is kissing her other breast whilst the girl at the bottom has her face firmly planted between her legs.  Some of the girls are naked whilst at least one is still wearing her dress around her hips.

The painting could well be based on a lesbian themed poem by Baudelaire with the same title.  It is on display in the Louvre.

Nicolas-François Octave Tassaert was a French painter although his surname is explained by the fact that his parents were of Flemish origin. It was an artistic family; his grandfather being a sculptor and his father an brother were both printmakers and print dealers.  It was from them that he received his first training.  At the age of 16 he was apprenticed to the engraver Alexis-François Girard (1787-1870) and the studied at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1817 through 1825.  

He was a reasonably popular artist but never received the critical acclaim he wished for.  He painted, largely portraits, religious paintings and genre paintings often featuring melodramatic scenes of the poor.  After 1857 he ceased to exhibit and stopped painting entirely in 1863 to concentrate on poetry.  He became an alcoholic and his eyesight suffered, committing suicide in 1874.

Apart from La Femme Damnée he produced several other erotic works; lithographs in around 1860.

The Jealous Cat

The Jealous Cat is an amusing vignette which shows a ferocious feline attacking the rear end of Mademoiselle's lover in a nasty case of coitus interrupus.  Many single women seem to be attracted to cats as companions but in this case our amorous man has got one more pussy than he was hoping for.

The Cautious Lover

The Cautious Lover depicts a young lady blowing into a condom to get it ready for use.  Inflating them like this was an important test for leaks.  Condoms were rare and expensive at this time and were usually made from lamb's intestine.

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