Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Victorian Kink - Candaules
This is a particularly mucky and tragic subject matter for a painting, and therefore just the sort of thing a Victorian artist would jump at. The picture above, King Candaules, is by our old friend Jean-Leon Gerome.
Herodotus tells us that Candaules was king of Lydia and had a particularly hot wife. So proud was he of her naked body that he insisted his favourite bodyguard Gyges cop a look while the King and Queen made ready for bed. Gyges was unwilling but Caudaules insisted - we're talking serious sexual kink here. So Gyges hid behind the bedroom door while the Queen undressed, and then tried to slip out, but the Queen spotted him. Sadly she was no fun at all: she summoned Gyges to a private audience and told him that in order to atone for shaming her, he either had to die - or kill the king and marry her. Gyges chose to commit regicide.
Personally I feel sorry for poor kinky Candaules, who nowadays would be a happy member of a cuckolding internet community. He did get a paraphilia named after him however.
Here's a painting of the same story by William Etty: