tijon

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Optical Scentsibilities: back to back


A naked feminine back can be more provocative than the most plunging decolleté. It implies a state of deshabillé that is not par for the course the way cleavage usually is with standard clothing and it draws men nearer, almost unconsciously and with a Plavlovian reflex to touch, going from the visual to tactile in an all too brief second.
It is exactly this imagery that has surfaced in perfume advertising as well as art.


From Pierre Cardin's Paradoxe from 1983 with its stylisized lines...



...to the luxurious, curvy decadence of Agent Provocateur with its saffron-rose chypriness.



The beauty of Jules Joseph Lefebvre's Odalisque from 1874 is at the heart of this seductive back nudity.



Modigliani also was inspired by it, using his characteristic style of brushwork in an aquarelle from the beginning of the 20th century.



And all can be traced back to La Grande Odalisque by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres (1814). A classic portrait of distorted human proportion (look carefully at the back and limps and you will know) that accounts for true beauty.
Comissioned by Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples and sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, La Grande Odalisque was intended to keep company to another nude by Ingres which she owned: Sleeping Woman, Nude.
Influential even to the point that it inspires photographers to shoot today's actresses, such as this one above with Julianne Moore by Michael Tompson in 2003 (American Photograph magazine). Which one is sexier?

Perfection! It's back.


Pics from imagesdesparfums, parfumdepub, wikipedia and in.gr

11 comments:

  1. lillie16:12

    Mwah!
    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous16:50

    Hi Helg,

    I like the Pierre Cardin one best because I like clean / stylistic lines. It's not a complicated or busy picture which I prefer when it comes art or ads.

    Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous16:50

    Hi Helg,

    I like the Pierre Cardin one best because I like clean / stylistic lines. It's not a complicated or busy picture which I prefer when it comes art or ads.

    Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks N! Mwah back to you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Dawn!

    The Cardin one is very characteristic of its times. I like the juxtaposition/contrast of colours in that ad: like an eclipse, isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous18:45

    Yeah, it does kind of remind me of an eclipse. It also gives me the sense of something heavenly or celestial with that halo of light around the bottle.

    Dawn

    ReplyDelete
  7. Halo is another good suggestion :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous00:15

    Oh, how I love Ingres. Thanks for drawing attention to the distorted proportions, I wouldn't have noticed otherwise.
    Sabina

    ReplyDelete
  9. I got to see the Ingres La Grande Odalisque recently, beautiful as ever. I admit I rather love the voluptiousness of the Agent Provocateur ad. But I then again I have always loved the back nudes, they show of the lovely curve of the female form so perfectly. Then again I have always thought it is hips that really make the difference in form between men and women.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sabina, we share the love.
    Well, this is one example of disproportion, he didn't use it much in his other odalisques.

    ReplyDelete
  11. J,

    you're very lucky to have been in Paris, then.
    The hips do differentiate men from women: much more than breasts (because those can be very small for some women)

    ReplyDelete

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