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The Empress and the Gladiator by suburbanbeatnik The Empress and the Gladiator by suburbanbeatnik
This is the cover I did for Astonishing Adventures Magazine #5- you can download it here. [link] Since it accompanies my article, "Toga porn," which is all about pulpy swords-and-sandals books from the '50s, '60s and '70s, it features the magazine's mascot, Scarlet, dressed as an empress, with a buff gladiator wielding a bloody sword before her.

Everything was kept intentionally inaccurate and Hollywood-ish, and I looked at a lot of Frazetta while painting this, because I wanted to make it more painterly than my other work. I also ended up looking at a lot of Peter Lely, the Restoration-era portraitist, because no one does sleepy-eyed, pale-skinned and morally dubious women better than he. Scarlet's costume was inspired partially by Claudette Colbert's outfit in "The Sign of the Cross" (1932) and by Anneka di Lorenzo in "Messalina, Messalina." (1977) Check out the magazine- it's chockful of my artwork and lots of pulpy goodness!
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:iconartadmirer1-75th:
ArtAdmirer1-75th Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014
Just Beautiful!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner May 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconartadmirer1-75th:
ArtAdmirer1-75th Featured By Owner May 3, 2016
You're Welcome Lady Joanne! :heart: Thank you for your Generosity in Sharing your Gallery M'Lady! 'HOOOAAH!' :clap::clap::clap: :salute::salute::salute::salute: :heart:
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:iconhypnoticrose:
HypnoticRose Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
beautiful work! great choose of colors :aww:
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconhypnoticrose:
HypnoticRose Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
most welcome :)
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:iconthandav:
thandav Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2011  Professional General Artist
cool
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:iconthandav:
thandav Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Professional General Artist
:)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
BTW I really like your icon. :)
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:iconthandav:
thandav Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Professional General Artist
thanks
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:iconsimonamooon:
SimonaMooon Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2011
I really like your Messalina!
I also have some interpretation of this wonderful woman)
You are welcome to see my gallery if you want)
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:iconcocorichelle:
CocoRichelle Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2010
Those lips! Wow!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
:D
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:iconadielle:
Adielle Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
This is amazing. I hope you don't mind me asking, but did you use pencil and acrylic here? I love the use of color and space. I sometimes find it rather intimidating to leave too much open space, but you made great use of the space in this picture without overdoing anything. Love this piece.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I just used acrylic. I was actually being more painterly than usual... I was trying to emulate Frazetta a little, what with the color scheme and the empty space. Man, I don't know how he did it!
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:iconadielle:
Adielle Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Aww, it still looks gorgeous, doll. What I like most about it is your style. You really have a very signature style that comes through on every piece; I just love it. :3
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! :D
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:iconcabepfir:
cabepfir Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Featured in my Best of dA 2008 News [link] :)
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:iconheterodoxy-pix:
Heterodoxy-Pix Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2008
I love it!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!
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:iconheterodoxy-pix:
Heterodoxy-Pix Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2009
:)
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:iconlead-bullet:
Lead-Bullet Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2008   Traditional Artist
Your style is always beautiful.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconayaneshinobi:
AyaneShinobi Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2008   Traditional Artist
Gotta "love" those older Hollywood flicks with inaccurate periodical costuming! :lol: That gladiator looks proud, with his bloody sword...and I just know that the Empress is having an affair with him. (I can't say that I blame her...her husband is probably some jerk emperor who has 20 mistresses...so it's only natural that if the Empress is going to have an affair, it's going to be with the Gladiator.) ;p Speaking of which, I love the movie the Gladiator. I liked Russel Crowe's role in the movie & it was great he was a Spaniard.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm not that crazy about "Gladiator"- it's too gloomy for my taste. If I'm going to watch toga porn movies, I'd rather they be sexy and silly, like "Samson and Delilah" or the DeMille's 1934 "Cleopatra" with the mega-awesome Claudette Colbert.

Speaking of Cecil B. Demille, my favorite inaccurate costuming comes from his films- the guy was such a showman. He was a hack, but his movies were a lot of good dumb fun.
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:iconayaneshinobi:
AyaneShinobi Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009   Traditional Artist
I like Gladiator but I do admit it is "gloomy", just like you said. It isn't the most cheerful of all movies, but it seems more realistic than other Ancient Rome films. I have never seen "Samson and Delilah" or the 1934 "Cleopatra". I'll have to check them out sometime. Yeah, inaccurate costuming is always a thing that brings a smile of amusement to my face. I especially "love" when inaccurate Ancient Egyptian costumes are made out of bright satins and lamé. ;p
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Gladiator did have great sets, even though a lot of the architecture looks like Second Empire bank buildings. There were some nice details here and there, although- in my own opinion of course- I found it really plodding. The realism of the costumes were about on par with the "grittier" of the swords n' sandals epics that came out in the '60s, like Spartacus or Barabbus- they took a lot of short-cuts, and the designs ranged all over the place. Connie Neilson wore a lot of sari fabrics, and she even wore a few Jackie Kennedy style bolero jackets in a few scenes. And Joaquin Phoenix wore... cravats? And heavy satins? Very weird.

You should check out Samson and Delilah and the '34 Cleopatra. They're not exactly great cinema, but they're very entertaining!
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:iconalwisw:
Alwisw Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2008
Oh wow, this is a gorgeous piece! I adore the girl with those blood red lips and flowy hair. She's stunning!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you! I'm glad you think she's hot. :)
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:iconmajnouna:
Majnouna Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2008  Professional General Artist
Hahaha it works!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
:D
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:iconrockpunk92:
rockpunk92 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2008
wow, i clicked the link for the magazine and the stories i read were good, thanks for sharing!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm so glad you liked the stories! Which one was your favorite?
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:iconrockpunk92:
rockpunk92 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008
I think it may have been Red Lipstick. They were all nicely written though.
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:iconcyrionb:
CyrionB Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2008
O, so sorry, forgot to add this:

Oh those Frazetta drawings! I remember his work was all the rage, and how many knock-off clones he spawned. Well, that's what the public wanted, at least the male ones back then. What amazed me was how he always said he waited til the very last minute to create them, and that he was at his best when working under extreme pressure. One of my favs was a chariot pulled by polar bears that was coming right at the viewer. The reins are missing in the painting; Frazetta said he forgot to put them in, but nobody seemed to notice. *chuckles*
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Frazetta is a pretty cool guy. But have you checked out the website run by his family? His oldest son (named Frank Frazetta Junior) has dedicated his life to marketing his old man's artwork.

I'm not really a big fan of the site. It's really poorly designed, and the FAQ is all about how to facilitate buying stuff from their online store. No personal touch at all, which is a pity...
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:iconcyrionb:
CyrionB Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2009
No, didn't know about the website. *goes to search*
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Let me know what you think of it...
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:iconcyrionb:
CyrionB Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2008
*chuckles*

When I first saw your illustration here, I thought of the History (and Discovery) channel's documents meant to correct the image of Hollywood gladiator myths. However, one thing they all agreed on was that the Roman gladiator was indeed the equal of today's athletic stars -- pop heroes with adoring fans, even if they were scrungie jerks. Unless my memory fails me, I think there was even a market on their sweat. Ugh.

Great job, as always. And, yes, I shall go check out your link. :)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! What did you think of the magazine?
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:iconcyrionb:
CyrionB Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2009
Interesting. :)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
Is that interesting in a good or bad way?
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:icondreamnfleet:
dreamnfleet Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2008
I love how she has curves! Very nice!!
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! :)
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:iconcabepfir:
cabepfir Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Before reading your description I thought her to be Poppea, and now I discover that Claudette Colbert's role in the film you talk about is precisely Poppea ^^ (I haven't watched The Sign of the Cross). As *Arinya13 before, I'm a big fan of Quo Vadis (which is actually my top 1 favourite movie, eheh), especially of the love story between Petronius and Eunice.
I like the way you suggested the fold of the flesh in the thigh, and her hear is extremely polished. :)
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! Glad you like it. :D
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:iconbillsbuds:
billsbuds Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2008
I'm gonna go rent Spartacus right now.
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:iconsuburbanbeatnik:
suburbanbeatnik Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
Or "Hercules Unchained" with Steve Reeves... :)
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:iconbillsbuds:
billsbuds Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2009
Unchain my heart.
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