Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Illustrations for Aristophanes’s Lysistrata by Aubrey Beardsley, 1896


1 Lysistrata shielding her coynte


















These are drawings that Beardsley produced fairly near the end of his short career, which he asked his publisher, Leonard Smithers, to destroy following his unfortunate conversion to Catholicism.  Terminal illnesses can have a very ill effect on ones judgement.  Smithers fortunately did not do as he was asked, in fact he continued to sell their reproductions in the same clandestine manner as before (as well as a few forgeries under the name of the great draughtsman.)  These are, in many ways, the culmination of his severe black and white style.  In his own perverse way Beardsley displays his admiration of the Classical Athenian Red Figure Pottery masters, such as Euthymides.  Given the subject matter it makes more than a little sense.  Beardsley’s subsequent work shows a greater reliance on grey tones.

 2 The Toilet of Lampido
 3 Lysistrata haranguing the Athenian women
 4 Lysistrata defending the Acropolis
 5 Two Athenian women in distress
6 Cinesias entreating Myrrhina to coition
 Inspection of the Herald
8 The Lacedae-monian Ambassadors

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