One of the criticisms of the depiction of women in art is that it often softens them and makes them vulnerable in ways that are never done to males. Women are seen as objects of beauty to be lusted after, possessed. And, by stripping away their clothes, many artists also strip away any sense of power or strength.
It does not have to be this way.
I remember being fascinated as a young boy by the striking power and beauty that is Grace Jones. I first saw her in the movies, A View to a Kill and Conan the Barbarian. She was gorgeous, desirable, and more than a match for both Roger Moore and Arnold Shwarzenegger. This was a woman who, no matter what she was wearing, owned the room and demanded your respect. She was, and is, the model of a powerful woman.
French illustrator, Tanino Liberatore has created a collection of drawings and paintings of women who fit the Grace Jones mold. They are strong, beautiful, and in control. Each turn of the page reveals a new pose, a new look, and a new take on the strong woman.
There is something in the book for all viewers. There are sensual poses of women reclining, as well as overtly sexual scenes. There are scenes which will make a reader laugh and others which bring about silent contemplation. If anything, Le Donne forces the viewer to give up on the idea of a single definition of beauty, and a let go of any thought that women are just objects to be desired. Le Donnes shows that women, like art, command your attention and respect.
As much as this is a pictorial essay on the female power, it is also an opportunity to marvel in the artistic range of Libertore himself. While most artists are only proficient in one, possibly two mediums, Libertore demonstrates mastery of multiple techniques and materials throughout the course of the book. Between the impressive women on each page, and the many art styles represented in the book, each turn of the page brings a new feast for the eyes.
It is difficult to use only one word or phrase to classify Le Donne. Is it an art book?
Definitely. Is it erotic? Indeed. Is it s a study of the female form? Yes. It is the type of book which would be at home in an erotic art collection, as well as on the coffee table of an art aficionado. Le Donne, like the women within, cannot be classified. It simply must be seen to be believed.
Le Donne is available now and well worth picking up!