L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, March 30, 2018

Dead Peter - posthumous portraits of Peter the Great, 1725

Hmm, what information might I share about these images...? Oh, yes, he's dead.

Portrait by Ivan Nikitich Nikitin.
Portrait by Ivan Nikitich Nikitin.
Portrait by Johann Gottfried Tannauer.
Portrait by Louis Caravaque. (I've been unable to find any information to explain this odd composition.)


Peter the Great's death mask.
His tomb in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in the Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Petersburg.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hollywood in France - classic film posters by Roger Soubie

The Shining Hour, 1938. (detail)

Roger Soubie (14 Cambrai - 10 Saint-Gaudens), French artist and graphic designer. He began his career by creating advertising posters for rail and transport companies, car manufacturers, and for regional tourism. He also designed magazine covers. And from the beginning of the 1930s until his retirement in 1966, he was responsible for creating nearly two thousand movie posters. Among these were the French titles of many of classic Hollywood's greatest films. 

Surrounded by all these wonderful images, I can't help but think of someone who knows and treasures many of these very films, who is a gifted and award-winning graphic artist herself, and whose birthday just happens to also fall on the fourteenth of June. Hmm? Who would that be, you ask? Well, that would be none other than my amazing wife, Gigi Little. 

(A few of the posters included here were designed for the re-issue of the film in question rather than its first French release.) 

Morocco, 1930.
The Sign of the Cross, 1932/1947.
Shanghai Express, 1932.
The Thin Man, 1934.
Tarzan and His Mate, 1934.
Mutiny on the Bounty, 1935.
Camille, 1936.
Camille, 1936.
Desire, 1936.
Conquest (aka Marie Walewska), 1937.
The Shining Hour, 1938.
Gone With the Wind (duh), 1939.
North West Mounted Police, 1940.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 1941.
Tarzan's Secret Treasure, 1941.
The Glass Key, 1942.
Double Indemnity, 1944.
Notorious, 1946.
The Blue Dahlia, 1946.
Song of The Thin Man, 1947.
Rope, 1948.
Under Capricorn, 1949.
Sunset Boulevard, 1950.
An American in Paris, 1951/1960s.
A Place in the Sun, 1951.
Ace in the Hole, 1951.
Deadline – U.S.A., 1952.
Ivanhoe, 1952.
Rancho Notorious, 1952.
Roman Holiday, 1953.
Rhapsody, 1954.
Sabrina, 1954.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, 1956.
Forbidden Planet, 1956.
Meet Me in Las Vegas, 1956.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, 1958.
 North by Northwest, 1959.
The Misfits, 1961.
Lolita, 1962.

Friday, March 23, 2018

L'Impératrice costumée - The Empress Eugénie in fancy dress

These images of the Spanish-born French Empress are completely new to me. They're from a portfolio of photographs of the imperial lady in fancy dress costume; the portfolio has recently been brought to auction. Costume balls were one of the forms of amusement most enjoyed at the court of the Second Empire, and the Empress took frequent advantage of the opportunity to dress up in gowns inspired by her great idol, Marie Antoinette. (Who was not a very wise model, as it turned out....) Three of the four costumes here look to be inspired by the fashions of the late eighteenth century and by her unfortunate predecessor.

In these two images her toilette is clearly inspired by the the fashions of the seventeenth century.

The costume in the photograph above is obviously the same as that worn in the unrelated image below, though there have been changes made to the gown; the arrangement of the overskirt is different, for one. This is the same costume that the Empress wore in one of her first portraits by Winterhalter, a painting I've written of previously.

She was considered one of the greatest beauties of the nineteenth century, but gazing upon photographs of the Empress Eugénie, the modern eye would rarely judge the woman we see there as anything like beautiful; she looks a bit odd, really, with her long nose and drooping eyes. I guess we have to account for changing tastes and the unflattering crudeness of early photographic techniques. And perhaps this is one instance where we should actually put our trust in the glorifying brush of Herr Winterhalter.