Pinup

Connoisseurs of pop art are often fans of the pinup genre of artwork which has become increasingly popular judging from the wide array of websites featuring such collections. There’s a wide appeal for these pieces even as they are only for informal display because they often feature glamorous girls who are either fashion models or actresses. A pinup, however, is not necessarily a rendering of the attractive face of a female celebrity. Other art items considered as pinup are realistically rendered illustrations, drawings and paintings done by artists who extol the beauty of the female form in their creations. This art form traces its roots in the late 19th century in mass-produced calendars which are meant to be pinned on the wall.


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Then as it is now, most subjects of a pinup are lady celebrities who stood out as sex symbols. Betty Grable, a popular movie personality during the 1930s and 1940s, count as among the most popular pinup girls during her time. During World War II, Betty’s posters adorned G.I.’s locker rooms to somehow salve the boys’ lonely days and nights. Similar pinup art is a common feature on the nose of aircraft bombers and fighter planes during the War. Marilyn Monroe, a movie icon of the 1950s, is another popular pinup girl among military and civilians alike. Her sultry images were not only popular as pinup but also came out as “cheesecake”, photographs that are also synonymous to the pinup art genre. While the term pinup was derived from its being an item being tacked on for display, cheesecake has its origin from the slang phrase “better than cheesecake” in reference to a very beautiful woman.

Many artists have become popular through their pinup renderings, artworks that depict these artists’ ideals of the bombshell beauty or a woman. These masterpieces have become so successful among collectors that the artists’ names have become generic to their particular work. For instance, the pinup works of Charles Dana Gibson have come to be known as the “Gibson girl” while those of another artist of the same genre, Alberto Vargas, have famously emerged among fans as the “Vargas girl”. Other artists of the pinup girl fame include George Petty, Art Frahm and Olivia de Berardini.

Stunningly beautiful girls, nonetheless, do not have a monopoly of the pinup art. The popularity of comic books over the years likewise brought pinup of superhero character or characters celebrating some make-believe exploits. Many of these gems from comics illustrators have become prized collectors’ items, depending on their rarity and the reputation the artists have established. Other popular pinup items among collectors are posters promoting movies or TV series, particularly those of vintage quality. Usually, these are not illustrations but photographs of highlights in the films or in the television series, and are thus not ascribed to a particular artist or illustrator. Just browsing through the internet will reveal a treasure trove of pinup collections, many of which are available for sale. Some websites even feature a posting facility for the aspiring pinup artists or illustrators, wherein works could be accessed along with the masters of this art genre.

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