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Konstantin Somov, a well-known Russian professional in landscape and portrait painting genres, is also famous for his unique book graphics.
One of the best examples of this art is the Book of the Marquise. In addition to Somov's illustrations, the publication contains poetry and prose works of France of the XVIII century. Both drawings and texts have a pronounced bold erotic character. What is the name of Casanova on the pages of the book!
The collection includes fragments of the works of Voltaire, Etienne, Guys, Laclos and other famous and anonymous masters of love literature. The genre orientation of the excerpts is from sublime innocent lyric poetry to frank entries from personal diaries and frivolous jokes.
The Book of the Marquise was published three times, however, and to this day remains a bibliographic rarity.
The first print publication dates from 1907. Place of publication - Germany, Munich. This is the most restrained in content collection, cut off by the strict rules of German censorship.
Admitted to the publication were 8 sketches of Somov. On the "Walk" in front is a marquise with a small dog, at a distance - ladies and gentlemen frolicking on a picnic. Other illustrations of the private life of the sensual, charmingly shameless society of the Rococo period are also interesting.
In 1918 and six months later, two reprints were published in St. Petersburg. With each issue, the text collection of poetry and prose was replenished, censorship waned, giving Somov the opportunity to boldly demonstrate the illustrator's talent. Now in French, the book sometimes showed shocking erotic scenes.
Images of the stages of the novel of the main character - the Marquises - stroke drawings painted with watercolors and monochrome silhouettes for their time were a real breakthrough in the field of eroticism, but they are still appreciated today. This is evidenced by additional editions of the book in 1996 and 2005.
Paintings by Edward Manet