Friday, January 11, 2013

Casual Friday: Was it something he said?

Friday, January 11, 2013
Hunt, The Awakening Conscience
Loretta reports:

I happened on a black & white version of this painting, part of the Tate Britain's collection, in one of the older books on my shelves, James Laver's Manners and Morals in the Age of Optimism 1848-1914.

It's a Victorian morality tale, which I leave you to interpret as you wish.  Or you can cheat, and read the explanation on the Wikipedia page.


If you click on the caption, you'll come to a large file, which will allow you to examine details close up.

6 comments:

Julia said...

Oh my frelling goodness, that one!
That comes to my mind now and then; I've seen a black&white reproduction of it (a bit different, I think the man sat more upright and had his hand in even farther at that woman's lap) and I have a particular spot of hatred reserved just for it. It's the expression on the man's face - like he's not trying to seduce her because he wants her but because it's a game and he's in it more for the triumph of getting her to "give it up" than for the sex itself. I think that was even clearer on the version I saw, so forgive me if the mini-rant is 5 %off target.

Clearly in this version, the woman is leaving herself open to reproach, too - open hair which spells "bedroom" to any Victorian and what she wears looks more like a sleep- or under-wear than a "propper" dress.

I'm sure the book must be very interesting. Victorian morals were really a weird thing - all uptight and strict (probably because the time right before had been a lot less so!) on the surface, mistresses, erotica and flourishing prostitution underneath.

As for that little rogue in blue who uses way too much blush: I hope his silly beard falls victim to spontaneous combustion.

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Carol Dent said...

AND she has red hair - a sure sign of loose morals...if you are a Victorian :)

KWillow said...

This blog is the most consistently interesting blog I have bookmarked, AND you post quite frequently!

I followed your link to the Wiki information and enlarged painting: fascinating. I suppose she is experience one of those rare moments of understanding (kind of Zen) just what her situation is. What will she do next? Shrug it off, and go back to a lucrative life of sin, or starve? There weren't a lot of choices for women in those days, were there?

Donna said...

It's all in the details!

Shay said...

The young woman's hair, loose and falling down her back, is another indication that this is the pre- or post-lude to a sexual assignation.

For the street or for respectable society, a woman's hair was always done up after she turned sixteen. Along with the letting down of her hems (to ankle length) it was a sign that she was now an adult.

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