December 28, 2010

Jennifer Kern's Pick: William-Adolphe Bouguereau's "A Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros."

Once again I invited an Objectivist to host this blog for the day and today's art object was chosen by Jennifer Kerns. If would like to host this blog for a day, feel free to email me here.

I asked Jennifer to write a brief statement about her thoughts on this painting and this is what she had to say:

"This is a painting that Lee Sandstead (Objectivist host of the Travel Channel's show Art Attack) posted to Facebook this week. It is William-Adolphe Bouguereau's "A Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros." It's not a fight that she's trying very hard to win.

The girl is holding Eros (Cupid) by shoulders at arm's length, but this strategy clearly isn't going to stop anything. Her stance is leaving Eros' arms unimpeded, and his arrow is a flick of the wrist away from pricking its target. And she's smiling.

Her state of undress is just one way in which the painting illustrates her openness to losing this struggle. Look at the feet. Since we're looking at her right side, we'd expect to see a right foot. That's not a right foot. Her feet are crossed, as if to lock her legs together, but her knees are separated, allowing Eros to get closer. The cherub is unlikely to have enough strength to have pushed his right thigh between a teenaged girl's unwilling knees.

This painting is a great illustration of a young girl's relationship with her own budding sexuality. The desire and the reluctance, and the desire to have that reluctance overrruled, are shown here with perspicacity and empathy. "

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