I especially love when a painting is exhibited with its studies. This almost never happens.
Herbert James Draper, Ulysses and the Sirens 1909
Homer's description of the sirens was rather vague. Draper depicts them as mermaids and young women. We see a crew of virile sailors apparently terrified by three nude girls. As they boldly climb aboard the vessel, the sirens change from mermaids into women.
In 1951, photographer Philippe Halsman posed 7 models to form a human skull for his
portrait of artist Salvador Dali. The title,In Voluptas Mors, roughly translates
to thevoluptuous death. In Greek mythology, Voluptas was the goddess
It took hours for Halsman to arrange the models
as Dali had envisioned in his drawing. Hours of direction,
contortion and prodding seems to have eliminated any
eroticism. In the behind-the-scene photos, the models look exhausted and bored.
Freud theorized that two instincts motivate people: Eros- sexuality and the drive for life, and Thanatos-aggression and the will for destruction. The conflict of both impulses (pleasure/death) appears in nearly every episode of this season's Mad Men.