A rose by any other name

ArtDaily.org announces that an exhibit of works by Georgia O’Keeffe and the Women of the Stieglitz Circle is opening at the San Diego Museum of Art.

When I think of Georgia O’Keeffe, I think of images like this one:
Jack in the pulpit IV

That’s a jack in the pulpit. (To be precise, “Jack-in-the-Pulpit No. IV“, painted in 1930.)

Or is it? Some of O’Keeffe’s paintings, certainly including that one, are evocative of female genitalia.

Alison Watt achieves a similar effect in her paintings (not photographs) of white draperies. This one is titled “Phantom” (2007).

Here’s another example:  “From Erotos” (1993) by Nobuyoshi Araki.
From Erotos

More subtle, perhaps. But if you think I’m imagining things, note the title of the photograph.

Are sly allusions to the female genitalia strictly a modern phenomenon? Not at all! I am amused by this painting:
Garland of Fruit With the Infants Christ and Saint John the Baptist

This is “Garland of Fruit With the Infants Christ and Saint John the Baptist” by Frans Snyders, a 17th Century Flemish painter. When I first saw the image, the unsubtle phallic symbol jumped out at me (so to speak) :

I thought, There must be a corresponding female image. Sure enough, it’s there on the opposite side (bottom right) of the painting.

I suppose the painting evokes the earth’s return to an Edenic state of fertility or some such thing. I really don’t know — it just amuses me to have Jesus and John the Baptist in a scene with a phallus and a vulva.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MaryP
    May 27, 2008 @ 10:28:57

    … would smell as sweet, or taste as tangy?


  2. Stephen
    May 27, 2008 @ 11:41:24

    You’re too sharp (not that I’m surprised). I considered returning to the title in the body of the post … then I thought better of it.

    Glad to know my little joke didn’t go unappreciated. But you’ll notice that I’m not answering your question.


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