Here at SARFT, we have seen many times that nothing inspires artists like naked ladies. We have also seen that Belgians are weird. This week we combine these two themes as we look at the work of the 19th century Belgian painter Félicien Rops. I’ve looked at one of his works before, but it seems that was only the tip of the kinky iceberg. WikiPaintings claims that his style is “symbolism.” I think that “women wearing nothing but stockings” only goes so far as a symbol, but then what do I know?
It started when the title of this painting caught my eye: “Pornocrates.” Uhh…porn for people who get off to Greek philosophers?
A blindfolded lady takes her pet pig for a walk. She has accessorized well, but seems to have forgotten her dress. In the background, baby angels make disturbingly ecstatic poses in the air. I guess they like pigs?
Continuing the stockinged-lady-with-baby-angels theme, here is “Cythera’s Toilet.”
I suppose they are supposed to be bearing her grooming tools and makeup, but frankly I have to assume that anything in tiny angel-borne vials are drugs. Also one baby is bringing a breast on a plate? Maybe it’s Jell-o made with a novelty mold.
This is the technically accurately named “Woman on a Rocking Horse.”
A Dominatrix rides with impunity, spurred onward by a band of grooving demons. Beside her, a monkey dressed like Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother is forced to perch on a pole. I think that Rops’ childhood nanny may have had some serious issues.
But not as serious as those that Rops himself developed. I debated for a while whether to include “The Satanic Removal,” part of a Satanic threesome of paintings. If you’re curious but (rightfully) terrified of clicking links around here, it involves a naked lady, a frisky broomstick, and a demon so well hung he could actually hang himself.
Instead, I’ll conclude with the significantly tamer “Behind the Scenes.”