This website is documenting & analyzing my research in the field of contemporary visual arts. Kristofer Paetau
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picturepeople #52 : MEN IN TIGHTS

men in tights, the background story

[...] But my lord Yvain, without making reply, passed straight on, and found a new and lofty hall; [...] seated inside [...] he saw as many as three hundred maidens, working at different kinds of embroidery. Each one was sewing with golden thread and silk, as best she could. But such was their poverty, that many of them wore no girdle, and looked slovenly, because so poor; and their garments were torn about their breasts and at the elbows, and their shifts were soiled about their necks. Their necks were thin, and their faces pale with hunger and privation. They see him, as he looks at them, and they weep, and are unable for some time to do anything or to raise their eyes from the ground, so bowed down they are with woe. When he had contemplated them for a while, my lord Yvain turned about [and asked]: "whence came [you] damsels whom I [see] in the yard, weaving cloths of silk and gold. I enjoy seeing the work [you] do, but I am much distressed to see [your] bodies so thin, and [your] faces so pale and sad."
[Speak the damsels:] "Never again shall we know what pleasure is. [...] We shall spend our days weaving cloths of silk, without ever being better clad. We shall always be poor and naked, and shall always suffer from hunger and thirst, for we shall never be able to earn enough to procure for ourselves any better food. Our bread supply is very scarce -- a little in the morning and less at night, for none of us can gain by her handiwork more than fourpence a day for her daily bread. And with this we cannot provide ourselves with sufficient food and clothes. For though there is not one of us who does not earn as much as twenty sous a week, yet we cannot live without hardship. [...] [Wh]ile we are reduced to such poverty, he, for whom we work, is rich with the product of our toil. We sit up many nights, as well as every day, to earn the more, for they threaten to do us injury, when we seek some rest, so we do not dare to rest ourselves." (1)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. (2)

(1) Chretien DeTroyes. Yvain or, The Knight with the Lion (Trans: W.W. Comfort; Everyman's Library: London, 1914). Part III: Vv. 4635 - Vv. 6818.
(2) The Holy Bible: New International Version (New York: HarperTorch, 1993). 1 Peter 3:3.

These Pictures were collected by Marc Fischer. Thank you Marc!