There’s something about my photo this week that reminds me of Aphrodite Anadyomene (rising from the sea), who is often shown with tilted shoulders and hips, usually associated with wringing out her hair.
(Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is a famous depiction of that moment, though it’s a different pose, with one arm vaguely across her breasts and the other hand in front of her groin: in Latin, Venus Pudica or “Modest Venus”. )
This is the 300th week of Sinful Sunday. Thanks and congratulations to Molly Moore for creating and running the meme all this time. And thanks to the Sinful Sunday community for your generosity; I look forward to meeting those of you who will be attending Eroticon in March.
I’m delighted to count myself a part of this community: my first SS was week 207 (March 2015), and my participation rate has been about 90% since then.
We love how simple and complex this image is at the same time. The simplicity is due to the straight-shot, solo-body, black and white capture. The complexity comes from the angle of the body and the shadows created with these angles. We love the comparison to Roman statues and how the image cuts just below the head. This shot was perfectly executed – it is smart, sensual and speaks beyond the photo.
Opposite me by the massive Renaissance fireplace sat Venus; she was not a casual woman of the half-world, who under this pseudonym wages war against the enemy sex, like Mademoiselle Cleopatra, but the real, true goddess of love.
She sat in an armchair and had kindled a crackling fire, whose reflection ran in red flames over her pale face with its white eyes, and from time to time over her feet when she sought to warm them.
Her head was wonderful in spite of the dead stony eyes; it was all I could see of her. She had wrapped her marble-like body in a huge fur, and rolled herself up trembling like a cat.
“I don’t understand it,” I exclaimed, “It isn’t really cold any longer. For two weeks past we have had perfect spring weather. You must be nervous.”
“Much obliged for your spring,” she replied with a low stony voice, and immediately afterwards sneezed divinely, twice in succession.
Venus in this abstract North, in this icy Christian world, has to creep into huge black furs so as not to catch cold—
[Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs]
Even though this isn’t a classical pose, I’m stretching my definition a bit and including this in my poses of Venus series.
In The Soul of Sex, Thomas Moore (no, a different Thomas Moore) discusses a few poses in which Aphrodite/Venus is commonly portrayed. I thought those poses would make an interesting theme for a series of images, and when I saw the February Sinful Sunday prompt, I knew it was the perfect time to get cracking.
This was done to display the genitals or buttocks in connection with religious rituals, eroticism or lewd jokes. The purpose is not the sexual gratification of the subject (i.e. exhibitionism), but the effect on onlookers. Here’s a classical example of front anasyrma, so you know what I’m on about:
And here’s my slightly more demure take on it:
Lifting the skirt is a powerful act in a number of cultures, especially for its apotropaic effect (warding off evil). It connects with the sheela na gig, who scares away the devil with her vulva. Take that!
Pliny the Elder wrote in the first century AD that a menstruating woman who exposes herself can scare off hailstorms, whirlwinds and lightning. This is echoed in the Catalan saying “La mar es posa bona/ si veu el cony d’una dona” (The sea calms down if it sees the cunt of a woman).
As I was doing a spot of research for this post, I came across an interesting and powerful website called Raising the Skirt, which is “constructing a community of courageous and fearless women to join me in the act of Raising the Skirt and reclaiming our Cunts.”