The Gift

In a sultry room the gift poses, hips and waist twisted into a seductive curve.   The gentle path of flesh becomes a journey and an invitation; a dangerous welcome for the weary traveler.

The Lady Is Without Fear

The face is small and proud, with a beauty’s spirit brewing just below the surface.  An alchemy of arrogance swirls in tangents between the black eyes, the dainty mouth, the dazzling countryside of silhouette and bone.  Colors buoy and glimmer through a gentle haze:  cherry, rose, a sfumato of lavender, ivory dissolving lovingly into pearl.

The crescent smile is scarlet and pert, and a mischievous femininity mirrors in the dark eyes, the honest, heavy brows.  The hair is soft and tumbled, the stray hairs an echo of the roguish expression that dashes across her face like an unbridled colt.  A single curl has fallen, and threatens the triangular stability of brow, eye and nose. 

With a look of aggressive generosity, the gift seeks the face of the viewer.  The body is a presentation piece: an offering of audacious skin and daring measurements rising from a sea of soft, white currents.

The gift is wrapped in silk and organza:  tight and taut, décolleté and delightful.  Swathed in colors that reflects the pale sunlight of spring, it glows with promise as does that most innocent of seasons.   But it is radiant with danger, too.

The gift is one of boldness and freedom – an unabashed vision that once was hidden if only because such a fearless beauty was not allowed to be shared.


9 responses to “The Gift

  1. Nice description of the radience – the combination of spring and those beautiful old dresses creates a real glow, doesn’t it?

  2. what a great painting – i can really imagine the dress in real life.

  3. Emmy/leendadll: I at first found the dress rather shocking – yellow, black stripes, green sash! – and I couldn’t help but wonder who her magnificent couturier was.

  4. What lovely words you use to describe the elegant Josephina! Makes me wonder what her life was like…

  5. I can’t help but remember my shock when I turned on CNN last week and discovered a discussion taking place among three people – one of whom was clad in a burqa. Such a contrast with the beauty here before us.

    Boldness, freedom, fearless beauty – portrayed with such intensity. Still, I wonder. In Saudi June 17, women will be taking to the streets, protesting for the right to drive their own cars. I wonder what they’ll be wearing, and I wonder if danger will illuminate their faces with its own radiance.

  6. Barbara: Josephina was a member of the Errazuriz family – a influential name in Chilean politics. She didn’t marry a President, she was not a First Lady, but that didn’t seem to stand in the way of her powers.

    shoreacres: Danger perhaps, but also impossible courage. To look at this portrait one would think that a woman – for all her tight laces and tortuous poses – can achieve strength and a wry shamelessness. Over 100 years ago. Now – this year…risking ones’ life just to achieve an assumed freedom.

    • Have you read “The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende? My daughter gave me a copy as a gift and it was my first in-depth historical fiction read about Chile. Fascinating country!

  7. I love the idea of “the gift” in this piece. How fitting! And her expression absolutely draws me in. She’s a mischief maker when she gets the chance, I think.

  8. Her dress is absolutely gorgeous and goes perfectly with her “scarlet and pert” smile.

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