Barbarian prisoner and Callipygian Venus, Versailles by Robert Doisneau (1966)

The photograph titled “Barbarian prisoner and Callipygian Venus, Versailles” was captured by the artist Robert Doisneau in the year 1966. It features statuary at the Palace of Versailles, which includes two statues: one represents a “Barbarian prisoner” and the other is referred to as “Callipygian Venus,” indicating a depiction of Venus noted for her shapely buttocks.

In this black-and-white photograph, the Barbarian prisoner statue is on the left, standing on a pedestal. It depicts a male figure clothed in drapery that covers one shoulder while the other shoulder and his chest are exposed. His head is adorned with a helm or cap, and he holds what appears to be a staff close to his body, quietly looking downwards.

On the right side of the photo, set further back, is the Callipygian Venus statue. This work shows a female figure from behind, centrally highlighting her buttocks, as suggested by the term “Callipygian.” She has her head turned to the side, possibly looking over her shoulder, and one of her hands appears to be reaching up towards her head.

The statues are separated by a trimmed hedge and are framed by the dark silhouettes of trees in the background, which blend into the shadows and evoke a serene, classical ambiance. The contrast between the two sculptures in composition and the positioning within the garden provides a narrative and an interplay suggestive of an encounter between two figures from different realms or stories.

Other Photographs from Robert Doisneau

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