Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Ironic Bush

I was out earlier with a few friends when idle chit-chat turned to a most contentious row and all due to a little female nudity. Or to be more specific, the lack of pubic hair on the models in classic painting. Now the contention was caused by one very stubborn lady’s belief that a nude painting of an adult female should include pubic hair. I disagreed, not solely to be contrary mind you but because I believe in artistic licenses.

In Werner's Rowing Boat by Anders Zorn

My reasoning of course fell on deaf ears for my quarrelsome companions had organized with intent to save me from what they called, 'my naïve acceptance of pretty pictures,' over what they believe to be the artist true intent to marginalize women.

There was much reference made to a review by Ms. Young of Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream/ The Complete Centerfolds is a coffee-table book in which the brilliant Ms. Young wrote and I quote.

''...Pubic hair is another delight to behold, appearing first in 1971 and
thriving until 1997. Gauzy coronas of pubic hair, technicolor dreampubes of
every shade. You forget how assertive a healthy growth of hair can look. It
comes as a pleasant shock in the midst of a creamy-smooth expanse.
hair diminishes as the nineties draw to a close. Neat triangles turn to Band
Aid-sized strips, which become little Hitler mustaches or nothing at all. The
modern crotch is a bit prim, a bit less forthright. You'd think that depilation
would lend a youthful look to the genitals but it has the opposite effect
instead, making the girls look older and slightly jaded. (Intimate grooming
signals forethought.) The youthful quality of the early centerfolds

I love what Ms. Young had to say but I still think my friends were off point comparing a classic paint like Botticelli’s Venus to a shaved in the end my belief stays the same and that is we cannot place modern politics on ancient art for it simply was not part of their reality.

'They summed him up on sight, could see his weakness and humoured him the way one does a fellow victim of the same affliction.'

My love my care,


  1. I think it is only the classic, Greek type depictions where pubic hair looks out of place. Modern pornography has a different agenda. Some years ago, I worked on some classical style, Greek figures in stone, slightly larger than life-size. When we came to Apollo, Simon Verity (the sculptor) gave him a normal sized willy, and it looked just plain ridiculous. You couldn't keep your eyes off it. So we whittled it down to child's proportions like the Greeks and Romans did, and it looked fine again - not too distracting. I think it's the same with the bush.

  2. Haha, should have know, I was thinking that the setting and girl look liked she could come from these parts.

  3. That reminds me of the BBC Tom. Didn't Lord Reith have the famous portal apendage reduced?

    As for pubic hair in paintings; I always painted young ladies as they were. The decision was theirs! Never mine!

  4. An interesting discussion, Simone. Did it perchance take place take place in a coffee shop? I would have liked to see the other patrons' faces! I tend to agree with you, smooth for classic art and neat and natural for modern (no landing strips, please)

  5. I agree, Simone. Art is a suspension of reality, of life and of is unrestrained by normalities or politics, and enforcing it to conform would destroy what it is all about.

  6. Was that 'Bush House', Cro? Either way, it wasstill carved by that famous pervert who wore a kilt up the scaffold - and not much else.

  7. Eric Gill? My very first sculpture tutor, Hilary Stratton, chisled for him!

  8. An entertaining post here . . . as strange as it may sound, I have had a similiar conversation about the presence and lack of pubic hair and all the fashionable styles that have been birthed from said womb. Oh my, what fun, the things that we humans discuss . . . smiles.