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Love and Demons: The 19th century erotic art of Mihály Zichy (NSFW)
03.28.2017
10:07 am
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“Falling Stars” (1897).
 
Sometime in the mid-1870s, while living in Paris, the Hungarian artist Mihály Zichy produced a series of erotic illustrations. These pictures featured men and women having a right old time fucking and wanking, sucking and licking. What inspired Zichy is unclear. A mid-life crisis? A raging hard-on? The current fashion for erotic illustration? Or perhaps wealthy patrons looking for some “dirty pictures”?

Most of these ink drawings lay undiscovered until after Zichy’s death in 1906. They were then collated together and a selection published in a book entitled Liebe (aka Oh, Liebe) in 1911. This nicely produced volume caused a bit of a stir. Zichy might have been pleased—he had often caused controversy with his work. His most famous picture was the demonically-charged anti-war painting “The Triumph of the Genius of Destruction” (1878). This painting was banned by the militaristic French authorities as deviant propaganda. He also managed to offend many Catholics with his work “Autodafé” (1868), which depicted the horrors of Spanish Inquisition. That said, Zichy was a very respectable artist. He painted the portrait of Lajos Batthyány, the first Hungarian Prime Minister. He was commissioned to produce paintings of the Empress of Austra, “Queen Elisabeth Laying Flowers by the Coffin of Ferenc Deák” and “Drinking Bout of Henry III.” He also supplied 27 illustrations for the poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin in 1881.

Zichy was born in Zala, Hungary on October 15, 1827. He started out studying law before taking up a career as an artist. He traveled to Vienna where he became a pupil of the painter Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller. Under Waldmüller’s recommendation, he became a teacher. He then became a court artist for the Russian Tsar Alexander II. When he left St. Petersburg, he traveled around Europe before settling in Paris circa 1874.

Another intriguing question about Zichy’s erotic illustrations is whether he worked from life models? The drawings look more than just the work of some fevered imagination—most noticebly by the fact Zichy’s couples appear to be enjoying each other as equals and not portrayed as mere titillation for the male gaze. He also depicted gay sex and masturbation—which would have been shocking at the time. His style of drawing, the clear lines, the soft penciling, would influence succeeding artists producing similar erotic illustrations.
 
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“The Triumph of the Genius of Destruction” (1878).
 
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“Autodafé” (1868).
 
See more of Zichy’s erotic artwork, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.28.2017
10:07 am
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The ‘Cutting Monster’: Bizarre 18th century illustrations of London’s stab-happy lady stalker
10.17.2016
11:20 am
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A bizarre illustration/caricature by James Gillray of the ‘Monster’ (aka the ‘Cutting Monster’) assaulting one of his female victims, 1790.
 
Nearly a century before Jack the Ripper terrorized the streets of London, a serial lady-stalker dubbed the “Monster” (or the “Cutting Monster”) would attack his first victim in May 1788. During a short walk in the early evening to a friend’s home, Mrs. Maria Smyth had the misfortune to cross paths with a man who, according to a vintage account of the incident, made a loud, lascivious request of Mrs. Smyth. Smyth picked up the pace of her evening stroll which in turn caused her harasser to increase his lurid taunting. By the time Smyth got to her friend’s doorstep the man lurched quickly with a knife and stabbed her in the breast and thigh—something that would become somewhat of a signature move for the Monster.

More than 50 similar attacks by the roving slasher would occur over the course of a three-year period in which the Monster would seemingly go out of his way to stab his victims in the same areas—the breast, buttocks or thigh—after verbally accosting them in the street when they were not in the company of a male companion or chaperone. The slash-happy assailant also incorporated the use of a bouquet of flowers to conceal a knife which he would use to stab his targets in the face when he was able to convince them to get close enough to the flowers to smell them. It’s also been theorized that whoever the “Monster” was. he enjoyed slashing up his victim’s clothing almost as much as plunging his knife into their flesh. As you might imagine the incidents were covered by the newspapers of the day and in 1790 a rather terrifying and wildly out-of-proportion caricature was done by Scottish artist Isaac Cruikshank (pictured at the top of this post) and was published by S.W. Forest, which was based on a first hand account by three women who were attacked by the Monster.

In the summer of 1790, florist—and frequent visitor to London’s many brothels—Rhynwick Williams was picked-up by the Bow Street Runners (who were essentially functioning as an early version of the police during the time) on suspicion of being the man behind the sexually-charged attacks. William’s not only insisted he was innocent but was able to bring forward numerous witnesses that would vouch for his whereabouts during the crimes. As the furor surrounding the assaults had reached epidemic levels around London the prosecution in the case decided that charging Williams’ with “destruction of property” would bring the longest sentence—a possible seven years per crime. The destruction of property in this case being the clothing the Monster had such an affinity for shredding up while attacking his female victims.

The charge didn’t stick and Williams was tried a second time four months later and convicted of “three counts of wounding” which sent him to chokey for six years. Though the attacks all but stopped once Willams was locked up, he would continue to profess his innocence (noted in the 2002 book The London Monster: A Sanguinary Tale by Jan Bondeson) in letters from jail where he would cite criminal cases that were similar to the ones he was accused of in an attempt to perpetuate the idea that the “Monster” was still “out there” and that the cops were even covering up crimes to save face. When he was finally released Willams apparently married a woman who wasn’t afraid of sharp objects and according to historians of the case no further references to “Rhynwick Williams” were ever recorded with the exception of one that strongly suggests Williams changed his name to “Henry” so he could avoid further association with the Monster.
 

A strange depiction of London’s the ‘Monster.’
 

The second panel from Cruikshank’s depiction of the ‘Monster’ featuring his victim outfitted with protective ‘copper bottom.’ And yes, ‘copper bottoms’ were a thing back in the 18th century though they were used by women to ‘enhance’ their appearance.
 

The ‘Monster’ (now with three heads) attacking a pair of ‘old maids,’ 1790.
 
More of the Monster after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.17.2016
11:20 am
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Sex Lives of the Gods: Vintage porn from the 1700s

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This vintage porn is all about cocks. Big cocks, small cocks. Permanently engorged cocks. Cocks to lead a goddess’s chariot. Cocks to ride into battle. Cocks that even look like Donald Trump.

They’re everywhere. Lurking in the undergrowth, hiding in baskets of fruit, frightening the horses and offering gratification wherever they go.

Drawings of cocks must have been the money shot—or money etching—back in the 18th century when these illustrations were first produced. I suppose that’s why artists will always be a prerequisite to civilized society—because when the Internet implodes and electricity eventually fails, artists can still can draw porny pictures. Just like the ones gathered together by Pierre-François Hugues, the baron d’Hancarville (1719-1805), for his volume of adult entertainment Veneres uti observantur in gemmis antiquis (1785).

Pierre-François Hugues almost had as many occupations as vowels to his name. He was an art historian, art dealer, poet, ideas man, writer, collector, intermediary, charlatan, con man, profligate, and producer of pornography. In his later years, he added the title baron d’Hancarville to his name—probably as he was convinced he deserved some recognition for all the hard work he carried out during his lifetime—most notably bringing a large collection of vases to diplomat Sir William Hamilton—which was eventually sold to the British Museum in London.

d’Hancarville and Hamilton compiled an inventory of these ancient vases—tracing their history and provence back to ancient Greece and Rome. While these four volumes had a certain fame among academe—it was d’Hancarville’s work as a pornographer that was his most popular and controversial work.

Between 1771 and 1785 (years vary depending on source—but invariably between these dates) d’Hancarville produced three volumes of pornography—Monumens de la vie privée des douze Césars, Monumens du culte secret des dames romaines, and most (in)famously Veneres uti observantur in gemmis antiquis. These books mixed drawings of artworks—stones, statues, sculptures, etc.—from antiquity—usually featuring Greek or Roman gods indulging in sexual shenanigans. D’Hancarville’ provided a text to explain in an amusing manner the symbolism and myth of each image. These books proved exceedingly popular which unfortunately led d’Hancarville into serious debt—which meant he had to eventually flee his home in Naples.

Veneres uti observantur in gemmis antiquis was originally written in French with color text and plates. It was soon published in numerous pirated editions in black and white. When asked why the images in the book were so small, d’Hancarville answered the images faithfully represented the size of the original and to be any bigger “would have still been more indecent had they been otherwise.”
 
18th century filth, in B&W and color, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.13.2016
10:45 am
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‘The Mysteries of Conjugal Love Revealed!’ 18th century sex manual is a total hoot!
09.30.2014
06:14 pm
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English caricaturist James Gillray‘s famous cartoon ‘Fashionable Contrasts’
 
If you’re not following John Overholt on Twitter, I suggest you get on it. As a Curator of Early Modern Books and Manuscripts for Houghton Library at Harvard, he Tweets about some strange, beautiful and often hilarious texts. Take The Mysteries of Conjugal Love Revealed an 18th century sex manual written by a French doctor, then translated to (“done into”) English by “a gentleman” (is a gentleman supposed to call himself a gentleman? Sounds a little excessively boastful to me.) Though the language is prissy, and the “information” wildly inaccurate, it’s important to remember that England was in the midst of a sexual revolution at the time, and books like this one represented a major move in cultural liberalism (for the upper classes, at least).

Still, let’s laugh at some particularly absurd excerpts!

We call the principle part of the Man’s Privaties the Virile Member, which the Ancients ranked among the number of their Gods under the Name of Falscines, to teach us what Empire it has acquir’d in the World: For no Charms or Enlightenments can equal it. If perchance a Woman perceives it thro’ some slight unfolding of the Garments, her Heart is at the same Instant inflam’d with a Passion, that is with Difficulty assuaged.

I feel like you might be giving yourself a little too much credit here.

The Privy parts of a Woman, by some called Nature, because all Men owe their Origin to them, are the cause of most of our Sorrows, as well as our Pleasures; and I dare say, that all Disorders, that every happen’d in the World, or do happen in this our time, spring form the same source.

I feel like you might be giving us a little too much credit here.

There is a part above the [Nympha?], longer more or less than half a Finger, called by Anatomists Clitoris,which I may justly term the Fury and Rage of Love. There Nature has plac’d the fear of Pleasure and Lust, as it has, on the other hand, in the Glans of Man. There is has plac’d those excessive Ticklings, and there is Leachery and Lasciviousnes establish’d;

I stopped after “half a finger.”

But ‘tis certain that Women have Testicles, spermatick Vessels and Seed, because they sometimes pollute themselves; and their Testicles, which are hollow instead of being solid, as Men’s are, contain several small Cellules, wherein a Humor is kept, that spurts up in the Face of those that cut them.

I don’t know what you’re doing, or with whom, or why there is “cutting” involved, but this does not sound like conventional heterosexual sex to me.

As soon as the Fancy is touched, and the small Fibres of the Brain shaken by the Thoughts of Love, there is an internal Sweat in our Privy Parts, and the Spirits which rush thither with Precipitation, force out a limpid Liquor of the Prostate which prepares the Conduit for the Passage of the Seed. But when one is join’d amorously to a Woman, the 2 small Bladders, most ready for evacuation, empty

Okay. Gonna start calling it “The Fancy”!

Chapter 6: What Hour of the Day one ought to kiss one’s Wife.

Well… they’re still English.
 
Via John Overholt and Harvard Library

Posted by Amber Frost
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09.30.2014
06:14 pm
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19th Century Fire Escape
05.21.2013
02:01 pm
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This fire escape from the 19th century is such a simple design, I wonder why it never caught on? Perhaps, it was not possible to maintain the structural integrity in high temperatures, and people would be unable to slide down to safety without being cooked. Mind you, fire escapes aside, this would be a fun way to leave work on a Friday.
 
Via Paraphilia Magazine
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.21.2013
02:01 pm
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