Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gemini II by Earl Miller

Our chronological examination of Penthouse Love Sets continues into 1979 with this girl/girl set, Gemini II, by Earl Miller.  Although the name sounds like a nineteen seventies Gene Roddenberry science fiction TV pilot, the text in the magazine claims that the models are twin sisters.

We have a number of outtakes for this set but we are going to group them by location rather than include the magazine images first and then the outtakes.  The outtakes (immediately above) will look slightly brighter so in the two nearly but not quite identical images above the magazine version is at the top.

This set appeared in the January 1979 issue, which featured Victoria Lynn Johnson on the cover and was photographed by Earl Miller in his first two girl set for fifteen months (although he had shot the three girl pictorial Living Dolls for the April 1978 issue).

There is no logical chronological progression in this set; we have a number of different set ups including this one of the girls (named Charlotte and Emily in the pictorial) in white underwear.  There are only the two shots of them dressed like this in the magazine.

This fine study of our two ladies on this rug is the only one which uses this backdrop.  It didn't appear in the magazine.

The next set up has our two girls cavorting on a brown leather sofa.   This shot, in particular, is dominated by the curious painting of a swimming pool

The painting has an early twentieth century look about it and it's certainly illustrates a very particular location.  Charlotte and Emily don't seem to care about it, though, as they are more interested in pulling each other's swimsuits off.

As the two girls reveal each other's lovely busts we should ponder on the fact that the text in Penthouse claims they are twin sisters.  If they are sisters, which is doubtful, then they are not identical ones.

Still, men's magazines have always got a little over excited at naked sisters together and try to encourage them to be as sensual as possible with each other for the camera, despite the incestuous nature of the posing.

The two girls are joined on the sofa by a sinister looking doll and almost get into the scissors position.  The pussy touching is quite strong for the period, especially for a Love Set, where they tended to be a bit less explicit than in solo sets. 

The doll has now gone or is, thankfully, out of shot as one girl settles between the thighs of the other in a tactile and passionate shot.

Some gentle breast nuzzling and squeezing brings to an end the sequence of pictures on the sofa.

Next the girls, starting off in different outfits, get undressed for a bath.  Emily (she is the darker haired one) gives us an assertive rear end display as she stands, oddly, in the bath in her stockings.

Soon the girls are in the bath and soaping themselves up very nicely.

Of course, despite being sisters, they can't resist soaping each other up, either.  These three close up bust caressing ones all appeared in the magazine. "They lather and caress one another, basking in the feel of soapy flesh," says the text.

There is no actual mouth to mouth kissing in this set, unlike some previous girl/girl Love Sets,  this is about as close as Charlotte and Emily get.

"Playful in their bath, Charlotte showers her sister with love - and with a loving spray of water," says the text. "The gesture brings Emily's rosy petals to life a second time."  We're sure it does. We have met a lot of girls who enjoy having their pussies sprayed with a shower like this.

The final two page picture doesn't fit with anything that has gone before, really, except one small picture in the pictorial.  They both depict Charlotte and Emily, naked except for a pair of boots on top of a horse.  Naked thighs and pussy straddling a horse is always going to make for a potent image but it almost look as if these shots came from another pictorial.

This was quite a nice set from Miller, although it lacked some of the passion of previous ones such as his own Pas de Deux from September 1977.

There had only been one girl/girl set in 1978 (but two three girl sets) but this one would be the first of no less than five girl/girl sets for 1979. However, the next Love Set will follow in February 1979 and will be a boy/girl one featuring Kelly Nicholls.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Couple by Giovanni Boldini

The Couple (1905)

Here is a splendidly passionate confection by the Italian painter Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931).  It is easy to see, from this animated composition, why Boldini was known as the "Master of Swirl", as the naked girl arches her body into that of the fully dressed man for a kiss.  A really lovely painting, this, full of motion and sensuality.  We will present some more Boldini nudes on Venus Observations later in the week.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Jupiter and Olympias by Giulio Romano

This painting by the Renaissance Italian artist Giulio Romano (1499-1546) is full of symbolism but is also surprisingly graphic for its day.  It represents the legend that Alexander the Great was fathered not by Philip of Macedon but by the God Zeus (Jupiter) in the form of a snake.

Olympias, who was originally named Polyxena, was the daughter of King Neoptolemus I from the Epirus region of Greece (now largely Albania).  On the death of her father, her uncle had her married off in a diplomatic arrangement to Philip of Macedon (although the two were already in love).  A year after they were married Philip's horse won a race at the Olympic Games and he renamed his wife Olympias (played, of course, by Angelina Jolie in Alexander (2004)).  That summer, Alexander was born following a dream by Olympias that her womb had been penetrated by a thunderbolt (portents were important in Ancient Greece).  

Olympias was a follower of the snake-worshipping cult of Dionysus and her biographer, Plutarch, said that she slept with snakes.   This all gives rise to the (very late) Greek legend depicted here.  Philip caught his wife in bed with a snake and sent to the  Oracle at  Delphi for an interpretation of the incident.  The Oracle reported to Philip who told him that it was Jupiter in the form of a snake  and he would lose an eye for having spied them together. 

Romano's painting shows Olympias, her legs apart, her hands braced on the 'frame' of the picture while Jupiter in a half man, half snake form approaches her.  He is patently erect, his penis sliding up her inner thigh, which was very unusual for a public picture at the time but perhaps justified by the mythical story.  Still, we cannot think of any other similarly frank paintings from the period.

In the background you can see Philip of Macedon, caught peeking at his wife and losing his eye to an eagle, the symbol of Jupiter, (he lost his eye at the siege of Methone, a year after Alexander was born.)

The painting is part of a vast fresco Romano did for the Palazzo Te in Mantua (which he also designed).   Jupiter and Olympia is at bottom left.  Romano, a pupil of Raphael, was the official artist and architect for Federico Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua.  Romano was the original artist for the sixteen graphically erotic pictures known as I Modi which we looked at in another post.  Sadly, Romano's originals are long gone but we will look at some more of the engravings done from his works and depicting various historical and mythical couples having sex, another time.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Barbara Edwards for two million visits

The Seduction of Venus has just passed 2 million visits.  We started this blog in October 2013 and have enjoyed finding, with our lovely assistants B in Istanbul and S in Vancouver, arousing (we hope) pictures of people enjoying each other's bodies.

At a time when a nasty new puritanism is seeping into Britain, driven by an unholy alliance of religious maniacs and hard line feminists, which is piling on top of the usual British embarrassment about anything sexual, we think it is important to celebrate sexuality as the positive, enjoyable and healthy experience it is.

On Venus Observations we celebrate hitting these viewership milestones by finding a young lady born in a US State, Canadian Province, world city or country with the appropriate population.  We haven't done the same here but we thought we would this time as two million is a big number!

Starting out with US states we find New Mexico and, behold, there has been just one Playboy Playmate born in the state: the magnificent Barbara Edwards (September 1983).  Was she really more than thirty three years ago.  We remember buying that issue!

As this is the Seduction of Venus we cannot feature her alone but fortunately she did a couple of mild couples pictorials for Playboy.  One of these appeared in the Newsstand Special Fantasies for Men and Women which appeared in 1991 (pictured above).

These last three are from a different set but are also nice.  What fun it must have been, as a male model, to be told that your job today is to gently fondle Playmate Barbara Edwards.

Our next post will be one featuring a Renaissance painting, then we have some nymphs and satyrs waiting and another in our series of Penthouse pictorials, this time a girl girl one from 1979.  We hope all our readers have an arousing weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2016

'Uproar' over Versailles TV series

French actress Lizzie Brocheré gets to work on King Louis minutes into spisode one of Versailles.  Britain scandalised

Agent Triple P has been enjoying the sumptuous production of TV drama Versailles on BBC2 but even before it aired the puritan press were up in arms about the new French made (ooh, er, missus) series.  "The most graphic sex scenes ever to be shown on British TV" (they weren't) said the scandalised Daily Mail. They described the series as among ‘the filthiest TV ever’.  This of course, was before they had even seen it.

Noémie Schmidt takes a dip in the lake

They wound up other puritans for their piece. Sam Burnett, of Mediawatch UK, said: 'Dressing up pornography and violence in a cravat and tights doesn't make it cultural.'

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said: "There are channels where, if you wish to view this sort of material, you would have to pay for it. BBC viewers don’t have a choice. They have to pay for it whether they approve or not...Is this an example of the BBC dumbing down and seeking more sensationalised programming? That’s an arms race to the bottom – quite literally in this case."  Oh, it hadn't been shown when he said this either.  Shouldn't he have been doing something useful like running the country rather than worrying about what people watch on TV?

Once the first episode had been shown the Daily Mail carefully published a screen shot of every sex scene (with all the 'naughty. bits blacked out) and gave the timing of every racy scene.  "First episode sees no less than seven blush-inducing sex scenes" they gasped.   They reported that viewers were so shocked they switched off in droves (actually, its been doing quite well in the ratings).

The French producers were baffled by the UK reaction.  There had been some complaints in France about the £24 million budget show but they centred around some historical inaccuracies (every French person studies Louis XIV at school in the same way that we study Henry VIII and his six wives) and, above all, the fact that the show (a French/Canadian/UK co-production) had been filmed in English, not French (sensibly, it has been sold to 135 countries).

Producer Claude Chelli said he was surprised that British viewers were so shocked by the nudity and sex scenes because French audiences had not batted an eyelid.  He said the French were not shocked by the content when the first series aired last year, adding: “We weren’t prepared for the reaction of the UK viewers.” 

 The DVD boxed set of the first series carries a tous publics rating in France.  That is a 'U' certificate, the same as a Disney cartoon. 50 Shades of Grey had a 12 certificate in France because the French realise that sex isn't disgusting, shameful or something to be hidden from youngsters. 

We suspect that a lot of the problems in the first episode came because of a homosexual sex scene and that is what really got people up in arms but they felt that they couldn't explicitly object to that as saying negative things about homosexuals is illegal in Britain.  Men kissing is always going to worry the Daily Mail, however, although they can't admit it.

There were more sex scenes than in the rest of the series in episode one but they were very short.  Sex was a key component to holding power in the French court as was shown in the series when the young Louis is presented with  naked, older nursemaid to teach him about the importance of sex for the king.

In one scene a mother grabs her sixteen year old daughter's naked pussy amd tells her in no uncertain terms that if she wants to get on at court and keep the family name in the clear she needs to employ that part of her anatomy on the king.

Initially set in 1667, Versailles is about Louis XIV (the Sun King) extending his father's small (comparatively) hunting lodge outside Paris into a palace big enough to hold his court, isolating them from Paris so he can keep an eye on his perfidious nobles.  Louis did indeed like his women (very, very much) but we are not sure about the way he accepts his brother's homosexual affairs in the series.  Louis, after all, essentially,  banished his much appreciated court composer, Lully (it was nice to see him being mentioned in one episode) solely  because of his homosexual carrying on.

There are some sex scenes but certainly not as many as the Daily Mail was worried about (the first episode was unusual on that front - not surprisingly, perhaps) and they tend to be short.  Some episodes don't have any sexual content at all.

However, when they do have a sex scene they tend to go for it.  Anna Brewster, playing the king's (principal) mistress, Françoise Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, gave a very enthusiatic, hip grinding, thigh flexing performance in a scene which began spectacularly framed from above before the camera dropped down to observe the couple from the side.

One of the nice things about the series, but also something of a challenge, is that the roles are almost entirely played by a largely unknown, young international cast.   As one of the actors pointed out, the average age of the cast of Downton Abbey was forty.

This does present one key problem.  It is quite difficult, especially early on in the series, to work out who was supposed to be who amongst  a cast of men all wearing long dark wigs and similarly coiffed women.

The look of the series is helped enormously by the fact that much of it was actually shot at the real palace of Versailles, as well as many other period French chateaux.  The costumes are wonderful and even the military uniforms are accurate.  One thing we can't stand, however, is the modern music which is horribly grating.  We didn't expect wall to wall Lully (there is some period music) but Michael Nyman showed in The Draughtsman's Contract what you could do with some post modern baroque.

The second series finished filming last month but the BBC haven't confirmed yet that they will be taking it.  Despite calling it "a delicious treat" before it was shown, they seem to have been taken aback by the negative press stirred up by the puritans.  Also it was never realistically going to be a rival to Downton Abbey as some suggested.  Let's hope we have more bodice dropping adventures in the future as in series two the place courtesans go on strike!

PS: At the end of the last episode the BBC announced that it would be back next year!