Sunday, November 12, 2017

Great Art: Part 2

Some more great art - this time paintings.

Death of Marat by Edvard Munch

Salome by Lovis Corinth

(Gertrud Eysoldt as) Salome also by Lovis Corinth

Hope I - Gustav Klimt

Nuda Veritas by Gustav Klimt

Postcards and Pin-Ups

Some more great artwork courtesy of Emanuela.

Postcard with a redhead drinking champagne.

1901 postcard. Girls dancing around a peach tree.

Three Eves.
From left to right by L. Lévy-Dhurmer, Lorenzo Alessandri and Grien.

Both the above are by the artist Boris Vallejo.

Flirt cover.

The two above are pin-ups by Olivia de Berardinis.

And finally a couple of adverts :)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Red-Haired Artwork Miscellany

Some very beautiful and interesting images featuring red hair today courtesy of Emanuela.

First up some images by the French artist Henri Gervex (1852 - 1929).

Femme Resuse a la Toilette

La Toilette

Parisina en su Toilette

Next up a painting from the German painter Heinrich Lossow (1843 - 1897).

Leda and the Swan

The following beautiful image is by the artist Lucien Levy-Dhurmer (1865 - 1953).

Gust of Wind

Now we have a vintage advertisement featuring a redhead by the Italian illustrator Gino Boccasile (1901 - 1952).

I'll finish with these last two images which are both fascinating and bizarre.

La Tentation de Saint Antoine - Felicien Rops

And lastly this one.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Red Hair in Adverts: Update 14/07/17

Just a short post to keep track of the red hair in advertisements theme. Since my last post on the topic the trend has continued unabated. So much so that it would be tedious to list every single example I've noticed. I'll share a few below though.

The following two come from advertisements for Tesco.

I think this next one was from an advert I noticed for Marks & Spencer if I recall correctly.

This next, quite beautiful lady I think, appeared in an advert for Colgate toothpaste.

It really does seem like this is a definite thing now. The token redhead is now as ubiquitous in adverts as the token black person. This is most surely a good thing ..if not a little weird for redheads that aren't quite used to seeing so many of their kind up on TV screens.

Just to show this is not entirely modern though I did come across the following classy advert on Pinterest a few weeks back.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Redhead Facebook Page :)

If you've just read the last article you may now be aware that there's a Facebook page to catalogue the multitude of famous redheads from throughout history. It can be reached via the following link;

The Past Prejudice Against Red Hair: What's Its Origin?

[The following article is the work Emanuela, who is posting her thoughts on the possible origin of the seemingly universal prejudice against red hair.]

When I first became interested in red hair, I thought the origin of past prejudice against it was its rarity. At least, that’s what I read on websites and in books on the subject. Later on, however, I began questioning this idea. It’s true, red hair is rare, but not so rare.

For example, I live in a small town (about 5000 inhabitants), in central Italy (in Italy, only a rough 0,6% of the population has red hair). Here in my town there are at least 10/12 redheads I know of. This means that, if you are lucky, you can meet one or two of us while strolling down the main road or going to the market. I remember that, when I was younger and used to go out for a walk with my friends, I would often meet a red-haired girl who looked very much like me (although she was taller). And when I was a child, there was another red-haired little girl not far from my granny’s house. And this is Italy. In countries like the UK and Ireland meeting a redhead should be quite common, today like yesterday. If you see a certain thing with a certain regularity, this thing is not rare, it's just unusual.

Besides, why should something rare, or uncommon, or unusual be considered evil? In Italy, for example, green and blue eyes too are unusual, but I’m not aware of past prejudice against them. However, if you read these proverbs;

Or if you read the beginning of the Italian short story Rosso Malpelo, you clearly see that red-haired people where considered almost the epitome of evil. 

We have this idea that, in the past, people were so stupid, ignorant and narrow-minded that they hated and mistrusted everything out of the ordinary. I don’t believe that and I don’t have this low opinion of past generations. On the contrary, I believe that behind our actions there’s always a reason, now as well as in the past, although often, with the passage of the time, reasons are forgotten.

Another explanation I happened to read is that the prejudice against red hair was due to the prejudice against the Irish and the Scots, but obviously this applies only to Great Britain and not to rest of the world.

One day, I was reflecting on my ever-growing list of famous redheads in history. Currently there are a little bit more than 300 names (we are posting all of them on our Facebook page ), and most of them belong to two categories: sovereigns and aristocrats. They come not only from the UK and northern Europe, but also from southern Europe and from Muslim rulers. I also noticed that often, if the sovereign didn't have red hair, someone in his/her family (a sibling or a parent) had it. That’s when an idea dawned on me.

In the past (for reasons we still have to investigate), red hair was particularly common among royals and aristocrats, and that’s the reason why people mistrusted it: because they identified it with people of power, and people of power have always been perceived as oppressors.

This could also be the reason why, on the contrary, more educated people loved red hair. Painters, for example, usually worked for rich patrons, and painters have always represented red hair in their works, long before the Pre-Raphaelites.

Then, over the centuries, red hair began to spread among common people as well, who would keep seeing them as something negative.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Red Hair in the Works of George Orwell

I recently finished reading George Orwell's famed novel 1984 - a quite brilliant, but somewhat frightening work.

Anyway, towards the end of the book there was a passing reference to red hair. The reference was quite inconsequential, with red hair simply being used in passing to make a general point about the particulars of the Newspeak language which is a staple of the book.
For example, All mans are equal was a possible Newspeak sentence, but only in the same sense in which All men are redhaired is a possible Oldspeak sentence.
No doubt an odd sentence to anyone who hasn't read the book.

I was quite pleased to find a mention of red hair in such an important work of fiction, even if it was an arbitrary one, and it inspired me to look for mentions of red hair in his other works.

I found a few. The first one comes in the work The Road to Wigan Pier. In the book he charts the appalling living conditions of the working class people living in the industrialised north of England. In one passage he describes a sight he encountered.
There are scenes that stand out vividly in my memory. The almost bare living-room of a cottage in a little mining village, where the whole family was out of work and everyone seemed to be underfed; and the big family of grown-up sons and daughters sprawling aimlessly about, all strangely alike with red hair, splendid bones, and pinched faces ruined by malnutrition and idleness; and one tall son sitting by the fire-place, too listless even to notice the entry of a stranger, and slowly peeling a sticky sock from a bare foot.
The second mention comes in his work Down and Out in Paris and London. In Chapter 3 he describes his experiences of poverty whilst living in Paris.
...I used to sell a few of my clothes, smuggling them out of the hotel in small packets and taking them to a secondhand shop in the rue de la Montagne St Geneviève. The shopman was a red-haired Jew, an extraordinary disagreeable man, who used to fall into furious rages at the sight of a client. From his manner one would have supposed that we had done him some injury by coming to him. ‘Merde!’ he used to shout, ‘you here again? What do you think this is? A soup kitchen?’ And he paid incredibly low prices.
This is interesting as it can be taken as another account of a red-haired Jewish figure in literature. Although the book is a real life account and not a work of fiction it does fall into the habit of portraying a red-haired Jewish character in a familiar unflattering light. Complete with disagreeable manners and an interest in financial gain.

It's not very common these days to encounter red-haired Jewish people, so this encounter with a red-haired Jewish shopkeep seems like quite an unfamiliar scenario to the eyes of any modern reader. (Though the old-fashioned role of the shopkeep in general has somewhat went extinct in our modern age of high street chains.)

One wonders just how different population demographics were in previous times. Were things quite so different? Or was Orwell maybe taking liberties with the truth?

It'll be interesting to see if any further references to red hair pop up in his other works.