Photo of the Week

Paris-Update-view-from-louvre

Left to right: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and Ferris Wheel. © Paris Update

 

Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Drawing through the ages

Paris-Update-Matisse-les-pommes
"Apples" (1944), by Henri Matisse. Eric Coatalem Gallery.

> Salon du Dessin: 39 galleries showing works on paper, from Old Masters to contemporary. Palais Brogniart, Paris, March 22-27.

Contemporary drawing fair
> Drawing Now: 73 galleries, Carreau du Temple, Paris, March 23-26.

More contemporary drawings
>Ddessin: 20 galleries. Atelier Richelieu, Paris, March 24-26.

Art and design fair
> PAD (Paris Art + Design),
67 galleries, Tuileries Garden, Paris, March 22-26.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, March 23-May 28.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Audrey Dana's Si j'Étais un Homme, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, Feb. 24.

Documentary film festival
> Cinéma du Réel showcases documentaries from around the world. Various venues, Paris, March 24-April 2.

Suburban blues
> The Banlieues Bleues festival brings major French and international jazz acts to the Paris suburbs. Various venues, through March 31.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.

Save

Save

Save  

Hot Topics - C'est ironique !

 

Google Finds Porn in the Louvre! And So Do I

Google Gags Me
(In a Way)

ParisUpdate-censored

Illustration by Charles Giai-Gischia. Visit his blog, Traits-Drôles, for a larger version and more drawings

Bad news for my mother: I’m a pornographer. Or at least that’s what Google says. But, mainly for the benefit of my mom, I can explain. In January 2012, I wrote a C’est Ironique about the sometimes-delicate dilemma of choosing between vous and tu — the formal and familiar forms of address, a linguistic feature of French that doesn’t exist (any more) in English.

This was in the B.C. era — “Before Charles” Giai-Gischia started creating his drawings to go with my articles. Every Paris Update post has an image at the top, and to illustrate that particular essay I chose a classic artwork: “Gabrielle d’Estrées and One of Her Sisters,” an anonymous painting from 1594 that hangs in the Louvre. Yes, that Louvre.

You might not recognize the title, but chances are good that you have seen the painting. And even better that you have not forgotten it: it depicts two pasty-skinned women bathing together in a heavily draped tub. They are dressed appropriately for the occasion, although visible only from about the navel up, and (this is the unforgettable part) one of them is extending her hand, pinkie up, and pinching the other’s nearest nipple.

To explain the connection between the painting and my topic, I added this caption: “In France, friends with privileges have one more privilege than we do. But not the one that Gabrielle d’Estrées’s bathmate is demonstrating here.” The Louvre website delicately refers to the mammillary pinching as a “candid gesture” that “may be an allusion” to Miss d’Estrées, the pinchee, being unnoticeably but unstoppably pregnant with King Henri IV’s illegitimate son. Apparently this was the 16th-century equivalent of the baby shower.

So far so “Art History 101.” But then, in February of this year, Paris Update received formal notice from Google AdSense that this image violated Google’s “family-safe” policy. The boilerplate message to the editor announced that ad serving (sharing of Google’s ad revenue) to the site had been disabled due to a violation on my page, and went on to explain that Google ads “may not be placed on adult or mature content.” The list of offending categories includes “full nudity,” “strategically covered nudity, sheer or see-through clothing, lewd or provocative poses,” and “close-ups of breasts, buttocks, or crotches.”

I had to admit: there were indeed four blatantly nude late-Renaissance breasts at the top of my post. Not strategically covered, not peeking through see-through clothing, but right there in the center foreground of the painting. And I had to admit that the owner of half of those breasts was engaged in a provocative pose that would have been downright lewd if she had been someone from outside the immediate family. Me, for example.

So fair enough. I understood Google’s point of view: if I had seen that painting at age seven or so, I probably would have bombarded my parents with awkward questions. Starting with, “Can I take a bath with the babysitter?”

The upshot is that the image has been removed and my column is once again as child-friendly as mother’s milk (wherever that comes from). But what about the Louvre? What other family-hostile content lurks behind those sordid stone walls? A recent informal investigation by a recognized pornographer has revealed a few more famous examples.

The “Venus de Milo” violates both the hooterial exposure and filmy fabric rules. And there’s no telling what lewd pose or candid gesture she might have been engaging in with those now-missing hands. In fact, maybe that’s why they were cut off, or slapped off, in the first place.

Ingres’s “Grande Odalisque” (1814) is clearly engaging in first-degree, premeditated strategic nudity coverage. And, worse, gazing over her shoulder with what can only be interpreted as an expression of grande disdain for family safety.

In contrast, the subject of Flandrin’s “Nude Youth Sitting By the Sea” (1836, and chosen as the cover image for a book on the Louvre) seems genuinely remorseful about being caught sitting on his clothes. Although judging from his lack of tan lines, it’s fairly obvious that he is not accustomed to wearing family-sanctified swim trunks for his little seaside escapades.

In the category of “nudity that could not possibly be any fuller,” the Louvre houses no fewer than four depictions of the “Three Graces” (by Regnault in 1797, Blanchard c. 1632, Cranach in 1531 and some anonymous chisel whiz from ancient Rome ca. 100) and not one of the 12 is graced with so much as a stitch of clothing. The Roman statue, which is a copy of an earlier Greek sculpture, offers a family-treacherous trifecta: a triple close-up of breasts, buttocks and crotches. Especially if you lean over the barrier to get a really good look.

Note to Google’s site reviewers: the above-mentioned Cranach (the Elder) has another famous canvas in the Louvre entitled “Venus Standing in a Landscape” that you can use to define absolute zero on the “sheer or see-through clothing” scale.

Lastly, judging from Delacroix’s “July 28: Liberty Leading the People” (1830, and formerly on the 100-franc banknote), Mademoiselle Liberty’s “to do” list that summer morning read like this:

Things To Liberate Today

1) The twins

2) The people

What’s to be done? I’ve been thinking: storming worked pretty well for the Bastille a while back. Maybe we should try that again on the Louvre, only this time with fig leaves instead of torches and flintlocks. And a bikini top for Venus. I think she’s about a 75B.

David Jaggard

Note to readers: David Jaggard’s e-book Quorum of One: Satire 1998-2011 is now available on Amazon as well as iTunes, iBookstore, Nook, Reader Store, Kobo, Copia and many other distributors. At $6.78 (less than €5) it packs a lot of punchlines per penny.

Follow C’est Ironique on Facebook and Twitter.

An anonymous reader writes: "Don't forget the sculpture of the sleeping hermaphrodite."

Click here to read all of this week’s new articles on the Paris Update home page.

Reader Reaction: Click This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to respond to this article (your response may be published on this page and is subject to editing).

Click here for more C’est Ironique! columns.

Support Paris Update by ordering books from Paris Update’s Amazon store at no extra cost. Click on your preferred Amazon location: U.K., France, U.S.

© 2014 Paris Update