Samadhi – Is That Italian?

getting email from 'the boot'

If you’ve read even a few of my postings, you know I almost always have an odd story to tell.

Today’s no different.

Perhaps, today’s post is a bit odder than most.

But, it’s said beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that truth is almost always stranger than fiction . . .

So, the other day I’m wading through my email inbox.  Deleting spam that slipped by the filters.  Responding to friends.

When I see a subject that was not at all familiar.

It read…

“Sono una donna matura desidero essere schiavizzata.”

Now, French I can read.

That was one of the few things in my favor when considering immigration to Canada.  You get a bonus from Canadian immigration authorities for speaking both of their native tongues.

It’s a language combination I call ‘Frenglish’.

I guarantee that message ain’t Frenglish.   And it doesn’t look like German, Spanish, or Portuguese either…

Fortunately, it’s easy to translate foreign language phrases online these days.  Online translators are smart enough that finding a translation didn’t require any guessing on my part.

Google translate knew my note was written in Italian.

The translator said that my message read . . .

Are a mature woman want to be enslaved.

Well now.  That translation makes perfect sense.

At least to me, it makes sense.

And, it explained the naked photo of a middle aged woman I found attached!

slaves without borders?

While I’m flattered certainly by the offer – kinda/maybe – I’m certainly not in the market to add another international slave to the household.

I mean I’ve already been grilled by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement over bringing Serafina here from Canada.

It was a nerve wracking experience.

We’d done almost everything right.  All our paperwork was perfectly ‘by the book’…

Now, what gives then, with the email from Italy?

I mean, do I give the impression that I run the local office of “Slaves Without Borders” or something?

And, I have to be honest, this wasn’t even the first time I’d had email show up in Italian.

Why?

Not that long ago I’d read a worldwide poll reporting that German girls are the kinkiest, that they have the highest percentage of interest in BDSM and fetish activities.

Another ethnic group showing up high on the chart were Hebrews.  Although I wasn’t clear if they meant just individuals from Israel or otherwise.

The Netherlands was also high on the list if I remember correctly.  That’s not a huge surprise.  Not if considering that the fair city of Amsterdam is known not only for it’s hashish bars, but, also for it’s red light district.

Ladies from Italy barely made the lowest of the low poll numbers.  I think they were neck and neck with countries where Islam is practiced.

I mean the relative lack of kink in Muslim countries makes sense, in a way, to me. Who needs restraints and paddles if the mere glance of a woman’s face is considered risque?

All the thoughts about Hebrews and Muslims are not what’s terribly important to my point.

Although it does give hints as to which side of that deadly divide has more fun in my eyes.  (Hookahs and Harems notwithstanding.)

Nope, sorry, I digress.

My real point is that Italian women didn’t show up as being incredibly kink oriented.  But I get ladies from Italy writing . . .

It dawned on me the other day why this was happening.

It’s the name.

Samadhi?

Because Samadhi ends with an “i”, it looks Italian to some eyes.

Ferrari, Puccini, Guicci, Lamborghini, Giovanni, Alighieri, DeVinci, Vanzetti, Brunetti, Sisti, Antonelli, Parducci, Piccirilli, not to mention Manicotti (yum) – all Italian names ending in “i”.

And, that list is like the bite of a horsehair whip, it barely scratches the surface!

So let me clarify for you, my dear reader. The name “Samadhi” is actually Sanskrit in it’s origin.

Yes, I’ve bestowed myself with a name, a word, from a dead language.

When I first became interested in the combination of BDSM and Tantra, back around 1990, I began by studying a variety of texts on Tantric Buddhism.

There I ran across the term “Samadhi” which I was told translated to mean “peaceful transcendental bliss”.

Today, thanks to the wizards of Wikipedia, I can present a complete definition.

Samadhi (Sanskrit: समाधि) in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools is a higher level of concentrated meditation, or dhyāna. In the yoga tradition, it is the eighth and final limb identified in the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.It has been described as a non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still, one-pointed or concentrated while the person remains conscious. In Buddhism, it can also refer to an abiding in which mind becomes very still but does not merge with the object of attention, and is thus able to observe and gain insight into the changing flow of experience.

It has been described as a non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still, one-pointed or concentrated while the person remains conscious. In Buddhism, it can also refer to an abiding in which mind becomes very still but does not merge with the object of attention, and is thus able to observe and gain insight into the changing flow of experience.

Wikipedia

International House of Slavegirls

Back in 1990. Samadhi wasn’t a word you’d run across commonly.

That’s less true today.

I see things like “Samadhi Yoga Center”, and other uses of the word showing up commercially in some larger cities.

So just to be clear — the name Samadhi is the Buddhist name I’ve adopted.

I’m sorry to disappoint the small, but apparently unfulfilled, population of lovely Italian ladies in need of a Master.

There’s no “International House of Slavegirls” in my basement.

Is that a machete in your pocket?

Is that a machete in your pocket?

or are you just happy to see me?

I’ve always had a fascination with the machete.

A good knife.

A sharp sword.

Really, anything with a sharp edge.

So, it was perfectly natural to incorporate knife play into my kink.

Then my friend Alpha taught me how to use a machete, as part of a scene, to cut-off a consensual slave’s clothes.

The rest, as they say, is history…

Sinful Sunday

OMFG It Stings! – The Spider Bite Stiffy

now THAT's a love bite . . .

Phoneutria nigriventer

It’s a truly wicked looking spider.  Even a quick glance at this creature seems to signal it’s bad intent.

For individuals with arachnophobia, there really is something here to fear.

Aggressive.

Stealthy.

Highly venomous.

In fact, calling this little beast ‘highly venomous’ is a significant understatement.

It’s currently listed by Guinness World Records, the official site of ultimate record-breaking facts & achievements, as the most venous spider on the planet.

The scientific name for this spider is Phoneutria nigriventer, but it goes by many others.  A good number of arachnids are known as ‘banana spider’, this is one of them.

From the word armadeiras in Brazilian Portuguese, it’s also one of the species known as ‘armed spiders’.

And, it has another common name that’s quite descriptive.

aka the Brazillian Wandering Spider

If the illustrations I’ve provided of the Brazillian Wandering Spider make it look imposing, that’s because it is a spectacular creature.

They grow in size until they are between 5″ and 6″ across.

Unlike other spiders that build webs, or hunt from lairs, this little beast wanders the jungle floor at night.  Hunting for prey.

During the day they like to hide in dark moist places.

In nature that means termite mounds, under rocks and downed tree limbs.  Inside bundles of bananas, and some favored species of plants.

It also means they are drawn to human dwellings.  They hide under buildings.  In houses, cars, clothes, boots, and boxes.

Anywhere it’s dark and damp.

In the Brazillian and Central American jungles, the habitat where these arachnids live, most everything is damp.

Front legs raised, Phoneutria nigriventer in it’s characteristic defensive posture. 

it may not kill you, but …

Yes, the bite of the Brazillian Wandering Spider is potentially deadly.

The venom will cause paralysis, and ultimately asphyxiation.  Tragically, there are confirmed cases of infant mortality.

The first bit of good news I can offer — Phoneutria nigriventer‘s jaws are not well adapted to piercing skin.

Thankfully.

Meaning, despite the venom’s extreme toxicity, this spider’s bite is rarely fatal.

But the side effects of even small amounts of Brazillian Wandering Spider venom come with a very real kick.

It may not kill you, but …

The erection is a side effect that everybody who gets stung by this spider will experience along with the pain and discomfort.

Romulo Leite

Medical College of Georgia

priapism

While generally not deadly to individuals beyond the age of infancy, the bite of the Brazillian Wandering Spider does have a very significant toxic effect.

It begins with intense generalized pain.  Everywhere.  And severe inflammation.

If that’s doesn’t sound bad enough, just wait.  Lying there, body racked with excruciating pain, there is still another effect coming.

Adding insult to serious injury…

It’s a hard-on.

The stiff dick is also in excruciating pain, just like everything else.

And it won’t go away!

Remember those Viagra commercials?  The ones warning you to seek medical attention if an erection lasts more than four hours?

Believe it or not, this is going to be one of those…

If you get an erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical help to avoid long-term injury.

Eli Lilly and Company

Cialis website

report to the emergency room

So, if you have a penis, and you’ve been bitten by one of those fucking Brazillian Wandering Spiders, it’s time for a trip to the emergency room.

Do not pass Go!  Do not collect $200.

Get your silly spider bitten ass off to the closest doctor available.

If you’d like to keep using your dick, that is…

I’m not going to bore you, my dear reader, with all the medical explanations for why a long lasting erection is dangerous.

Suffice it to say that it is so.  (Along with an open invitation to research the topic yourself if you don’t believe me.  Here’s a link to start – Priapism.)

All I’ll say is this – the likely result of untreated priapism (whether caused by spiders or pharmaceuticals) will be a lifetime of total impotence.

Also, I will not describe one potential medical treatment for the never-ending erection, lest I discourage you from seeking the immediate medical your certainly will need.

It’s gruesome.  But not nearly as bad as the alternative.

potential medical uses

Despite the extreme pain this spider’s bite causes, it should be no great surprise that the venom’s ability to create a strong erection is of great interest to science.

By science, at least in this case, I mean pharmaceutical companies.

Erectile dysfunction drugs are huge money makers.  I’ve read that the biggest profits in the drug manufacturer’s arsenal come from ED medicines.

It makes sense.  The potential market for the pills is huge.  Sooner or later, if a man lives long enough, it’s pretty much inevitable he’s going to have erectile issues.  For some, those issues can creep up as early as middle-age.

And, the mechanism in Brazillian Wandering Spider’s venom that causes hard-ons works differently than existing drugs like viagra.

So, drug manufacturers are very excited at the potential of a new drug.  It could potentially be as big, or even bigger, than viagra.

I’d wager the thought of all those profits is giving some drug executive a stiffy right now.

all those damned quotes? why?

"Life itself is a quotation"

-- Jorge Luis Borges

The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.

Isaac D'Israeli

quote of the day

I’m sure you’ve noticed my Quote of the Day feature.

It’s rather hard to miss.

A friend of mine asked the other day why I was cluttering up my blog with all the quotes.

Their point was that the blog is called Michael’s Way.  Not DeSade’s way.  Nor Antoniou’s way.  Not Califia’s way either.

So why?  Why are there all those damned quotes?

Bear with me please, I’ll answer that question in a moment.

But, right now, I must admit that quotes make up about 60% of the posts.  That’s a ratio that certainly won’t get any lower as long as I post daily quotes.  And, you should know, the percentage of quotes might go higher still.  

Creating good content takes time.  It takes inspiration. It’s not likely I’ll keep up with the nearly post a day pace I’ve set so far.  At least not for long.

So, no matter how well I do with writing, the Quote of the Day feature will always be the (numerically) greatest part of Michael’s Way.

Perhaps life itself really is a quotation.

A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool.

Joseph Roux

Meditations of a Parish Priest

collecting quotes

I’ve been collecting quotes since I turned 21.

That’s more than 30 years (and counting.)

Back in the day, as I read, I would fill notebooks with quotes.  Everything was “fair game”.  Anything I poked my nose into.

From Dumas’ Three Musketeers, to Thoreau’s Walden, on to No One Here Gets Out Alive, and Up and Down With the Rolling Stones.

Anytime I found a tidbit of wisdom (or perhaps obvious stupidity) I’d grab a notebook and pen, and faithfully copy the quotation.

I always felt that this practice made my reading more mindful.

It seemed that reading carefully enough to cull good quotes also facilitated better comprehension.

Well, the notebooks are long gone.  I think they disappeared during a big move.

But, the passion for collecting quotes remains.

Your host, Michael Samadhi

Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

about Quote of the Day

My hope is, when I share each Quote of the Day, that the words will have potential meaning for somebody.  Anybody.

I expect that the original author’s message will strike a chord.

Provoke thought.

Provide inspiration.

That’s exactly what the quotes do for me.

In fact, I’ll share a little secret with you — the quotes really aren’t for my readers.

While I happily share them with my friends, their real purpose is more personal.

Most of the quotes have some kind of unique meaning to me.

Perhaps it’s a special memory surrounding me from when the quote was discovered.

It’s may be that the quote is a signpost, or remembrance, from my journey.

Sometimes a quote serves more as a reminder.

Maybe of something I hope to change in my own life.

Or something I know, but hope to reinforce.

Really, my personal purpose in sharing a quote could be almost anything.

Regardless of whatever they might do for me, I hope the quotations I share do something for you too.

Getting fucked and being owned are inseparably the same.

Andrea Dworkin

Dworkinisms

Believe it or not, Dworkin’s quotation (above) was the original inspiration for this post.  My writing took on an unanticipated direction from there.

That happens.  When words start getting transferred from my brain through the keyboard, intent and direction will sometimes shift.

But, there’s no escaping that this post was inspired by Dworkin.  It was originally intended to explain why I’d quote someone I do not respect.

My feelings about her run strong and deep.  Saying, “She was not my cup of tea,” would be a serious understatement.  Andrea’s an individual I never met, never would have wished to meet.

Sat down, alone in a room with her when she was still alive, I’d call a safeword within moments.  Yes, it’s really that bad.

You see then, perhaps, why I’m just not comfortable quoting Andrea Dworkin without significant explanation.

A post was necessary to explain the context of her statement.  A disclaimer was needed to assure readers I don’t agree.

porn wars

Andrea is a warrior from the “porn wars” days that I mentioned in my review for The Price of Pleasure.  She’s anything but sex positive.

Seen through her eyes, sex is always about …  Violence.  Oppression.  Rape.

She once wrote that intercourse is a – “Means of physiologically making a woman inferior.”

Wow!

Before learning of Dworkin, I never imagined anyone could make the “religious right” seem tolerant and sex-positive by comparison.  She makes it look easy.

Did I say, “Wow!”?  Yes, I certainly meant it.

I clearly don’t agree with her.  So, I quote Andrea Dworkin, not to give traction to her words.  Instead, they are here for education and discussion.  In order to grapple with a mindset like Andrea’s, we first must examine it.

Yes, there really are people out there who think that sex is violent, oppressive, and never joyful.

I can’t help telling them how wrong they really are.

I’m not a fan of Dworken, which should come as no surprise. She always was, it seems, anything but sex positive. For instance, she once wrote that intercourse is a – “means of physiologically making a woman inferior” – a statement with which I would strongly disagree. I’d argue that intercourse is a means of making a woman physiologically superior, as no man alive is capable of having ten orgasms in a single lovemaking session.

As I’ve alluded to before, in the mindset of spiritual sex, we become God and Goddess incarnate when we make love. Yes, I desire to captivate my partner. I wish to enthrall and engage, excite and delight, and yes, of course, possess her too. But the idea of making her mine isn’t to diminish her in any manner.  Instead, it’s meant to elevate us both!

Michael Samadhi

unpublished essay

Before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it.
You know, I’m inspecting because I want to make sure that everything is good.
You know, they’re standing there with no clothes.
‘Is everybody okay?’
And you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.

Donald Trump

the Donald

Donald Trump’ is another individual I wouldn’t dream of quoting without explanation.

I’ve wanted to post this particular quote for some time.  But, I just couldn’t do so without a note explaining my thoughts on the quotation.

Yes, what the Donald said is despicable.  Deplorable.  Unjustifiable.  Wrong in so very many ways.

With all of that said, if we set aside the revulsion many people feel towards Trump.  If we set aside the non-consensual nature of his peep show behavior.  And, we pretend for just a moment that his behavior wasn’t predatory.

We view his words from a different angle …

What he’s describing is pure voyeurism.

And, it’s also a very good metaphor for the inequalities and injustices of society in the United States.  If a poor person confesses to being a peeping tom, they get a trip to the big house.  They are suddenly registered as a sex offender.

When Donald Trump makes a similar confession, he gets a trip to the White House.  Not fair!

his harem fantasy

Looking at it from yet another perspective, the quote transforms into something different still.

Seen through the eyes of an unrepentant kinkster, without the predatory context, Trump’s recounting is essentially a harem fantasy.

I touched on those briefly while discussing Jean-Léon Gérôme’s exotic art.  It’s a relatively common male fantasy.  Harmless as long as it remains a fantasy.

He’s not a sultan by any means, but Trump did have the resources to purchase a beauty pageant.  That bought him access.  Donald’s one of the few individuals on the planet with the revenue to live out even a portion of the harem fantasy.

Still, it’s despicable that he gave into the temptation to walk into the woman’s changing area.  Deplorable that he acted on the impulse.  Worse still that he bragged about it after the fact.  Obviously, Donald’s behavior was anything but harmless.  

He victimized an entire room of young women.  Bad.  Very bad.

But, as a quote, it was hard to pass up …

Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.

Donald Trump

it’s still Michael’s Way

Hopefully, my friend (if they read this) now realizes that quoting Antoniou or Califia doesn’t make this blog about their way.

Afterall, I found and selected the quotes.

Their messages all have significant meaning to me.  For some of the quotations, that meaning is very profound.

And, in one way or another, they are relevant to my journey.

I often deliberately interpret the quotes, at least in my mind, through the eyes of an unrepentant kinkster.

I’m not always interested in the author’s intent when posting the quotation.  I find my own.

If you are willing to look deep enough, you may also find the quotes are relevant (and have meaning) for your journey too.

Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.

Ambrose Bierce

The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary

A quotation in a speech, article or book is like a rifle in the hands of an infantryman. It speaks with authority.

Brendan Behan

An apt quotation is like a lamp which flings its light over the whole sentence.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon

When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living.

James A. Baldwin

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.

Dorothy L. Sayers

Gaudy Night

[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business. A.A. Milne

If I May

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.

Oscar Wilde

Exploring Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Exotic Art

slave auctions, harems, hookahs

art

Jean-Léon Gérôme is not a name I knew.

Not before a few years ago.

I’m no art critic.  Art is not a subject where I’m inherently knowledgeable.

I was a science guy.

I’m the only person to ever graduate from a certain college prep school without a single art class.

Art was a prerequisite for graduation.  Not just a semester, or two.  The requirement was two full years of art classes.

I was inherently strong in the natural sciences.  A perfect ACT score on that subject.

So the art requirement was waived.  Not at my request.  I wanted the art classes.

The school, however, wanted me taking science.

Slave Market in Rome by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Harem Pool by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The influential French writer Émile Zola famously remarked that there wasn’t a living room in France that didn’t have an engraving or print by Gérôme during the late 19th century. Michael Brand

Director, J. Paul Getty Museum

art of the odalisque

A gentleman named Tanos, a well-known figure in the BDSM community, initially turned me onto Gérôme.

I don’t know him personally.  Tanos hails from across the pond in England.  But, going back for 20 years, he’s developed websites on some serious BDSM related topics.

I’ve read his writing on a concept called ‘Internal Enslavement‘.  Ideas there influenced my own thinking about M/s relationships.

He also has a serious interest in odalisques.

Perhaps you don’t know what an odalisque is?  Neither did I before I first ran across an entire website centered around the concept.

On Odalisques.com, Tanos says:

This site explores the imagined world of the Near East, especially of Ottoman Turkey and Egypt, created by mostly western painters and writers and centered on the figure of the odalisque – a female slave in a harem, trained to serve her Master’s pleasure, and assigned to sexual rather than domestic duties. Rather than a faithful record of these Near Eastern cultures, it was a deep and penetrating reflection of often unacknowledged desires in Western audiences connecting sex, power and sensual pleasures.

 

This Odalisquian world has many elements which we would now identify with BDSM, especially D/s, M/s or O&P relationships, and this appreciation of Odalisquian imagery lives on within the modern BDSM scene.

Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Venus Rising by Jean-Léon Gérôme 

I really enjoy the fantasy.  I also have a great appreciation of odalisquian imagery.

Obviously then, it was on Tanos’ site devoted to female harem slaves that I discovered the art of Jean-Léon Gérôme.

Selling Slaves in Rome by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme the man

I’m told that Gérôme was a French painter and sculptor who lived from 1824 until 1904.

Born in Vesoul, a modest size town in eastern France, not far from the Swiss and German borders.  He died in Paris.

Jean-Léon was a very prominent figure in the art movement known as academicism.

I could try and explain what that means, but folks who have had an art appreciation course already know better than myself.

From my research, I know that a vase he painted was offered to Prince Albert by Emperor Napoleon III.

I assume that sort of gift not only honors the recipient, but also the artist.

The vase hasn’t been discarded by any means.  It’s now a part of the Royal Collection at St. James’s Palace in London.

I also understand that Jean-Léon Gérôme’s influence extended far beyond his own work.

A good number of students, from his time teaching at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts, rose to prominence on their own merits.

Orientalism

In 1856, Gérôme visited Egypt for the first time.  This trip became a major influence.

Hereafter, one of the important artistic styles he adopted was Orientalism.

Individuals with a simple art appreciation course under their belts can probably explain that style better than I.

It’s said, at least in some art circles, that Jean-Léon Gérôme’s greatest works are from his Orientalist period.

That’s also the area where Tanos’ interests seem to intersect with the artist’s.

Mine too.

Gérôme created many paintings that I most of them displayed here.

While not all of them had an Eastern influence, I would tend to agree about the period of his greatest creations – Orientalism.

To my eye, his best erotic masterpieces are depictions of harems.

I have to add, I’m also quite struck by his portraits of slave girls on the auction block.

As I’ve already pointed out, I’m no art critic.  I have no formal training in understanding or appreciating art.

I’m just a man who knows what he likes.

I get the feeling that Mr. Gérôme certainly knew what he liked too.

Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Femme nue (Nude Woman) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The Dance Of The Almeh by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Grande Piscine de Brousse by Jean-Léon Gérôme

I hate imitators, people who put works together out of older works, these men are blind unless they are looking with someone else’s eyes, and who produce only the mistakes of the master they draw from. These, one doesn’t even want to talk about; one must simply call them ‘Eunuchs’. Jean-Léon Gérôme

Allumeuse de Narghilé (The Teaser of the Narghile) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

do not misunderstand

For folks who might be reading this that don’t already understand BDSM.

Or harem fantasies.

Or, who are perhaps horrified that an individual like myself might enjoy the spectacle of a slave auction?

It can’t be stressed strongly enough that everything I do is 100%, without question, totally consensual.

I only do what I do with the willing.

I also cannot stress this point strongly enough — I find no excitement in the specter of real life human trafficking.

It’s difficult for me to watch television shows, or movies, that include women being trafficked as sex slaves.

Those kinds of themes upset my delicate sensibilities.

The mere thought is absolutely abhorrent to me.

Slave Market (or For Sale) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The Serpent Charmer by Jean-Léon Gérôme

 

When you draw, form is the important thing. But in painting the first thing is to look for the general impression of color … Always paint a direct sketch from nature every day.

Jean-Léon Gérôme

it’s fantasy (a good one)

On the other hand …

The fantasy of having a slave auction involving consensual slaves who are willingly put on the auction block – that’s hot!

Fantasy.

Consensual.

Willing.

Under those conditions …

Hot.

Don’t believe me?

Ask Laura Antoniou.

Laura’s Marketplace series of books is based entirely on the fantasy of slaves being trained for service.

Having dreamed of willingly, even enthusiastically, puting themselves on the auction block.

In the Marketplace, slaves are valued quite highly.

But their terms of service are not unlike a strict business contract.

Albeit, a contract with corporal, rather than corporate, punishment.

To my mind, Antoniou is by far the most successful BDSM author of my generation.

By success, I mean greatness.

In the end, however, it’s all a fantasy.

An excellent one.

Very Hot.

But, just a fantasy.

Achat D’Une Esclave (Purchase Of A Slave) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

A Bath Woman Bathing Her Feet  – Harem Pool by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Moorish Bath by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme – kinkster?

For reasons already explained, I can’t speak intelligently about Gérôme in terms of art criticism.

Understanding and analyzing fine art isn’t part of my personal skill set.

I am who I am.

My knowledge is concentrated around the interests I’ve decided to pursue.

But I do know kink.  I know it well.

I understand people with a kinky bent.

Folks with fetishes.  Perversions.

In Jean-Léon Gérôme I sense a kindred spirit.

Jean-Léon certainly had a great appreciation for the feminine form.

His portrayals of women are beautiful. Sometimes stunning.

an artist’s fetishes

I get the feeling Gérôme has more than a little fetish for bathing women.

That particular subject is revisited time and again in his work.

How advantageous must it have been to be a renowned artist?

“Hello, my name is Jean-Léon Gérôme.  Yes, the celebrated artist.”

“I need access to your harems, and private baths, so that I might record their majesty for posterity … “

Obviously, something like that worked for Jean-Léon.  He accessed locations entirely forbidden to most men.

Gérôme’s also repeatedly chooses slave auction themes for his paintings.  Those subjects cross multiple cultures and eras.

With that in mind, it’s not hard for me to believe Jean-Léon had some sort of slave auction fantasy at work.

El rey Candaules by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Bathsheba by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Bathing Scene by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Working in Marble by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The End of the Sitting by The End of the Sitting

Gérôme’s success brought academic painting to an artistic pinnacle—having an immeasurable impact on future generations of artists as well as to the new mass entertainments of the 20th-century, especially film. Michael Brand

Director, J. Paul Getty Museum

Pygmalion and seraglios

There is no escaping Jean-Léon Gérôme’s love of the harem as subject matter for his paintings.

Called the seraglio, serail, or zenana in some cultures; harems are a specialized form of women’s quarters.

Considered a sacred inviolable place, harems house a man’s concubines (and wives) away from the gaze and desires of other men.

As I said before, I will always be astounded at Jean-Léon’s continual ability to access such private areas for his work.

It must be a great honor to be invited for a glimpse of an empty harem bath, let alone to be allowed to stay and paint.

For men, having a harem, or some sort of facsimile, is a relatively common fantasy.

It’s also one of those things that are easier said than done.

Even if it were possible to build a harem in this modern day; it would be a rare man with the money, power, and appetites necessary to keep it in place.

Still, it’s another nice fantasy.  And, it’s one I have to believe I share with Jean-Léon.

statues come to life

Here was an individual who worked as both a painter and a sculptor.  In combining his love for both mediums, Gérôme returned time and time again to a classic tale from mythology.

Pygmalion.

It’s a story with some serious legs.

Dating back to Greek mythology, told most famously in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, it’s been portrayed in a variety of forms.

For instance, Disney’s Pinocchio is little more than a bowdlerized and embellished retelling of Pygmalion.

Disney couldn’t have a sculptor feeling romantic love for his work in a G-rated movie for kids.  (We were thankfully spared that kind of romance for an inanimate object until Andrew McCarthy in Mannequin.)

So, Pygmalion morphed into Mister Geppetto.  Romantic love for a statue was switched off in favor of fatherly love for a puppet.

It’s a sweet story either way.  And it’s a story that clearly fascinated Jean-Léon Gérôme.

Was he fascinated to the point of fetishizing statues? Perhaps his dream was a harem of statues coming to life?

Those questions will likely remain forever unanswered.

narghiles and hookahs oh my

Jean-Léon was a 19th-century man with more than enough fetishes to flesh out a FetLife profile.

With as many seeming fetish interests as I’ve already covered, I can see one more potential kinky interest for our friend, Jean-Léon Gérôme.

It certainly could be argued, from the frequent appearance of hookahs in his paintings, that the renowned French artist may have had a touch of a smoking fetish.

Granted, narghiles are relatively common in a good number of Orientalist paintings.

Certainly, the appearance of a hookah immediately identifies a painting as portraying a scene from the East.

Perhaps Gérôme was intrigued by the culture surrounding drugs like hashish?

Perhaps he was enthralled with seeing beautiful harem ladies smoking?

I’ll never know for sure.  But, it’s just one more potential kink to add to Jean-Léon’s list. 

La Vérité sortant du puits by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Corinth by Jean-Léon Gérôme — tinted marble, colored marble, gilt bronze, enamel, and semiprecious stones.

Moorish Bath by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Almeh by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The Slave For Sale by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme

As a very unorthodox academic painter, Gérôme knew how to represent history as a dramatic spectacle and, by creating particularly convincing images, could make the spectator an eyewitness to events ranging from Classical antiquity to his own times.

Musée d'Orsay

fetish photographer?

I have to think, that in today’s day and age, Jean-Léon Gérôme’s primary profession would be fetish photography.

Of course, that’s pure supposition.

But, it seems to be a fairly well-educated guess.

During his lifetime, Gérôme expressed admiration for, and great confidence in, the photographic medium.

Although it was in relative infancy at the end of Jean-Léon’s life, he envisioned photography completely overtaking his style of realistic painting.

He was quite correct on that point.

It would be perfectly natural for a man of Jean-Léon Gérôme’s talents to adopt the photographic arts.

Fetish photography would well suit his artistic eye.

And, it would give him potential access to the secret places that exist in the modern world.

After all, the man would have to fulfill all those fetishes somehow.

So, I see a modern day Jean-Léon Gérôme as something like a supercharged Eric Kroll.

However, I’m not sure that working exclusively thru the lens of a camera would be enough to satisfy a man like Gérôme.

A man with so many talents.

He would need more.

I think a good secondary avocation, for a modern day Jean-Léon, would be producing exquisite sculptures of exotic subjects.

Some things never change …

Socrates seeking Alcibiades in the House of Aspasia by Jean-Léon Gérôme