Who is flirting with whom

Simo was fond of female beauty and had an eye for women. This personality trait of his became very obvious during the last years of his life. Even when he got into the nursing home he was at first very capable of telling nice compliments to female personnel and visitors. But he had a dementia which reduced his abilities and selfhood and he became bedridden. Gradually all words, sentences and even the meaning of normal conversation abandoned him.

I remember one afternoon few years ago when I was sitting beside of his bed and we were quietly watching television. There was an old black and white Finnish movie on the screen. Suddenly my father revived, got electrified and stretched out his arm a finger pointing to television. He had a very big smile on his face and with wide opened eyes he said: “It is Ester Toivonen, the most beautiful woman in Europe!”

Yes, It was. Miss Europe 1934. This incident came back to me when I was scanning through his 70s’ prints and I saw this etching titled The City Venus. But who is there actually flirting with whom? Is it Simo or Venus with beholder or Venus with the men in the picture or with Simo? I’m not sure. My mother hated this work and when they were divorsing at the beginning of 80s she tried to destroy all the prints of this work. A woman on the left is a bit like her.


The City Venus (Kaupunkivenus), etching 1976



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