Bathing Beauty

The cover of Goldenbird #1 is inspired by this cover illustration for Judge magazine by Robert Patterson (1898-1981). I found this short info about the artist online:
After studying at art at the Chicago Art Institute and in Paris, Robert Patterson began his career as a cartoonist for Judge and Life, and on the staff of French Vogue. He has done illustrations for some dozen magazines, for advertising and other media and for numerous books, and is a portrait painter as well. He edited, as well as illustrated, ON OUR WAY, a book for teenagers. With his wife and son and daughter, Mr. Patterson lives in Easton, Connecticut.
The illustrator is berhaps most famous for his work on the 1950's epic children's book, You Will Go To The Moon. At least, I think it's the same Rob Patterson.


Tonsure or not?

I have wrestled with the problem a longer time. Properly, Falco ought to be tonsured, having already received minor orders. The tonsure during the 19th and early 20th century was not larger than a host (some orders used the measurement 'three fingers wide'). According to Wikipedia, "failing to maintain tonsure was the equivalent of attempting to abandon one's clerical state, and in the 1917 Code of Canon Law, any cleric in minor orders (or simply tonsured) who did not resume the tonsure within a month after being warned by his Ordinary, lost the clerical state". The tonsura (or corona clericalis) was, however, not required for clerics serving in countries with a non-Catholic majority population. Perhaps this is Falco's convenient excuse - his order expects him to serve in various countries, also such that target Catholics for persecution.

I have encountered the tonsure in anti-Catholic literature as well as nostalgic Catholic art. In German writer Eugenie Marlitt's novel Die zweite Frau from 1874, a Catholic priest is making an unwelcome advance at the noble Lutheran heroine. The scene could be described as exploitative - the lady is horrified, but also attracted by the priest's abandon of moral control. The sing that makes her break out of his spell is the sight of his tonsure:
Er trat plötzlich unter einem leidenschaftlichen Zurückwerfen des Kopfes auf sie zu und breitete niedersinkend beide Arme aus, um die Kniee der jungen Frau flehend zu umfassen — das grüne Lampenlicht floß grell über das marmorartige Oval seines Gesichts, über den leblosen weißen Fleck inmitten der dunkellockigen Haarmassen — ihr war, als zeige ein unsichtbarer Finger auf diesen Fleck als auf ein Kainszeichen — sie floh, während ihre schönen Hände wild nach dem knieenden Manne stießen.
The novel was written during Chancellor Bismarck's Kulturkampf ("culture struggle") against the Catholic church in the Second Reich, and is a clear example of literary anti-Catholic propaganda. There are more interesting themes in the novel (the "second woman" of the title is either the heroine, who marries a seemingly loveless and superior nobleman, or the nobleman's brother's Oriental concubine, who is the focal point of a conspiracy where the priest plays the villain).

The tonsure fell gradually out of use (except for a ceremonial cutting of hair during the ordination). As of 15 August 1972, first tonsure is no longer conferred, except for certain orders who retain the right. Some nice examples of tonsures can be spotted in the naivist painter Baldino's works.


Walter Trier

Erich Kästner's books from the 20's and 30's have lovely illustrations. We got some of them (Emil und die Detektive, for example) from our dear old neighbour, Herr Dr. Rosenplänter, when we lived in Germany.
The illustrator was Walter Trier. He had to flee Germany with his family in 1936, because he was Jewish. I think I have a crush on him (he looks a little like Falco).
Trier was a prominent illustrator, but he also provided caricatures and cartoons for Simplicissimus, covers for the British magazine Lilliput, Allied propaganda flyers to be thrown over Germany during the war. He was offered work by Disney, but refused - he wanted to work under his own name. Shortly after emigrating to Canada, he died in his atelier 1951.
Some pictures:
A map of Europe in WW1
German boxer Max Schmeling
Hermann Göring paper doll "for the young"
Covers for Lilliput magazine (always with a man, a woman and a dog)
Some of Kästner's and Trier's books

Erich Kästner was forbidden from publishing in 1933, and his books were publicly burnt. He was hounded by the Gestapo, but he continued to write and publish his works in Switzerland, and he travelled to meet Trier in Austria in the 1930's. In 1943, he was no longer allowed to write, either. After the war, Kästner dealt with his experiences in pacifist books for children and adults. He continued to work together with his friend Trier.
You can follow Emil and the detectives' path through Berlin of 1929 in photos, drawings and maps here.



"Le Bon Féminisme" - by Géorge Leonnec, 1922
From La Vie Parisienne, a humorous and fashionable French magazine with plenty of cheeky and masterful illustrations.

I have seen the accompanying "joke" in another reproduction of this image, and it went something along the lines:
Butch: - So, what do you think about feminism?
Femme: - I dunno, I just prefer men!

Har har.

This inspired me to sketch the first fashion styles for Mayann and Lou. See the latest version here...



Trailer for the movie Yumeji by Seijun Suzuki (1991).
Takehisa Yumeji (竹久夢二, 1884–1934) was an artist of the Taisho era (大正時代, 1912-1926) in Japan. His paintings are very popular today; they are easy to find as prints and on postcards, stationery and apparel in almost any well-stocked department store or book shop. The last time I was in Japan, I bought several little sets of postcards and pens decorated with his melancholy, slender lady portraits.
There are at least four museums devoted to his works, in Okayama (his hometown), Tokyo (which also exhibits other artists such as Kasho Takabatake), Gunma (link goes to gallery) and Kanazawa.