The Russian Illustrator Feodor Rojankovsky and His Idylle Printanière Series
28 januari 2022 
35 min. read

The Russian Illustrator Feodor Rojankovsky and His Idylle Printanière Series

As it's known, humans are engaged in different sorts of play throughout their lives. From this point of view, childhood games and adult sexual activity have much in common. Naive roleplay involving costumes and various types of toys is important for these spheres of our existence in equal measure. This fact can partly explain a tendency of artists known as illustrators of children's books to produce erotic sets stimulating adult people's physics and fantasy. One of these artists was Tomi Ungerer, whose life and work were a subject of one of our previous articles. This time we're going to examine pictures by Feodor Rojankovsky, also known as Rojan (1891-1970). He was a Russian émigré illustrator working with children's books and erotic art as Tomi Ungerer did. He provided images for classic examples of French erotic literature such as Vers Libres by Radiguet and Poésies érotiques by Pierre Louÿs.

 Cover of John Langstaff’s Frog Went A-Courtin

Fig. 1. Cover of John Langstaff’s Frog Went A-Courtin ', 1956 by Rojankovsky (Wikipedia.org)

 les adventures d'un chasseur americain parmi les peaux-rouges

Fig. 2. Spread of Daniel Boone: les adventures d'un chasseur americain parmi les peaux-rouges, 1931 (exhibits.lib.unc.edu)

 Animals in the Zoo by Rojankovsky

Fig. 3. Animals in the Zoo by Rojankovsky, 1962 (ebay.com)

The Zoo and The Art

Rojankovsky was born in a large family with many kids. His father was a chief of Revel Gymnasium in Estonia (a part of the Russian Empire). When, in 1897, the father passed away, the family moved to Saint-Petersburg, where their older daughter lived. Rojankovsky demonstrated his enthusiasm for fine arts at an early age. Later, he would confess: "Two great events determined the course of my childhood. I was taken to the zoo and saw the most marvelous creatures on earth: bears, tigers, monkeys, and reindeer, and, while my admiration was running high, I was given a set of color crayons. Naturally, I began immediately to depict the animals that captured my imagination. Also, when my elder brothers, who were in schools in the capital, came home for vacation, I tried to copy their drawings and to imitate their paintings" (wikipedia.org). After Rojankovsky had graduated from the gymnasium, he enrolled at the prestigious Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. His mentors were great masters of fine arts such as Korovin and Vasnetsov. In 1914, when World War I began, he was called up for military service. A year later, he started drawing sketches of military life while staying in a hospital. When the war was over, the artist moved to Poznan (western Poland), where he worked for Rudolf Wegner's publishing house, designing advertising posters and covers of magazines.

 Vers Libres by Radiguet and Rojankovsky

Fig. 4. Vers Libres by Radiguet and Rojankovsky (litfund.ru)

 Illustration to Vers Libres by Radiguet

Fig. 5. Illustration to Vers Libres by Radiguet, 1926 (litfund.ru)

 Rojankovsky’s illustration to Beranger’s Chansons Galante

Fig. 6. Left: Rojankovsky’s illustration to Beranger’s Chansons Galante, 1937 (vitanova.ru); right: A Bar at the Folies-Bergère by Édouard Manet, 1882.

Spring in Paris

Rojan's career as an illustrator of erotic literature began after he had moved to Paris in the 1920s, being unable to live in the Soviet Union that'd just emerged. In Paris, the artist illustrated half of a dozen erotic books, among which was, for instance, The Handbook of behavior for little girls to be used in educational establishments (1926) by Pierre Louÿs and Chansos Galantes (1937) by Beranger.

 Rojankovsky illustration to Beranger’s Chansons Galante

Fig. 7. Rojankovsky’s illustration to Beranger’s Chansons Galante, 1937 (vitanova.ru)

 Rojan Beranger’s Chansons Galante,

Fig. 8. Rojankovsky’s illustration to Beranger’s Chansons Galante, 1937 (vitanova.ru)

New York and Late Years

In summer 1941, Rojankovsky left Paris occupated by Nazis and moved to New York, to where he was invited by Georges Duplaix, the founder of the Little Golden Books publishing house. From 1943 to 1970, the artist illustrated 35 books for kids. For his illustrations to John Langstaff's Frog Went A-Courtin ', Rojankovsky was awarded the Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration from the American Library Association.

 Rojan Spring Idyll

Fig. 9. Spring Idyll, 1933, frontispiece (liveinternet.ru)

Idylle Printanière

Rojankovsky's Idylle Printanière (Spring Idyll) series was published in Paris in 1933. This graphic novel drawn in colored pencils tells about the encounter of a Parisian couple. Their interaction begins in a subway wagon, where they meet each other, and continues on the back seat of a taxi. The most amusing picture of the set is the one that depicts the moment of leaving the car in front of the hotel (Fig. 23). The facial expression of the woman is either embarrassed or excited. Excited because she expects more fun further, and embarrassed because the taxi driver probably noticed their activities.

 rojan The subway. Spring Idyll,

Fig. 10. The subway. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan In the wagon. Spring Idyll

Fig. 11. In the wagon. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan Leaving the wagon. Spring Idyll

Fig. 12. Leaving the wagon. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

  Rojan Waiting for a taxi. Spring Idyll

Fig. 13. Waiting for a taxi. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan Getting into the car. Spring Idyll

Fig. 14. Getting into the car. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan Rojan Getting into the car. Spring Idyll

Fig. 15. Woman exposing her legs. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

  Man caressing legs of woman. Spring Idyll

Fig. 16. Man caressing legs of woman. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Erotic scene with traffic in the background. Spring Idyll

Fig. 17. Erotic scene with traffic in the background. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Fingering. Spring Idyll,

Fig. 18. Fingering. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

  Rojan Fingering. Spring Idyll

Fig. 19. Fingering. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan Exposing a penis. Spring Idyll

Fig. 20. Exposing a penis. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan erotic art

Fig. 21. Erotic scene. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Erotic scene with woman in a pose of a frog. Spring Idyll

Fig. 22. Erotic scene with woman in a pose of a frog. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 In front of a hotel. Spring Idyll Rojan

Fig. 23. In front of a hotel. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Entering a hotel room. Spring Idyll Rojan

Fig. 24. Entering a hotel room. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan Woman sitting on a bed. Spring Idyll,

Fig. 25. Woman sitting on a bed. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan erotic illustration

Fig. 26. Erotic scene on the bed. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Taking off a sock. Spring Idyll

Fig. 27. Taking off a sock. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan Fingering. Spring Idyll

Fig. 28. Fingering. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Rojan Fingering in a 69 position

Fig. 29. Fingering in a 69 position. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

Rojan Fingering in a 69 position Rojan

Fig. 30. Woman exposing private parts. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

Woman undressing. Spring Idyll

Fig. 31. Woman undressing. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Cunnilingus. Spring Idyll

Fig. 32. Cunnilingus. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Man caressing breasts of woman. Spring Idyll

Fig. 33. Man caressing breasts of woman. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

 Man caressing breasts of woman. Spring Idyll

Fig. 34. Fellatio. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

Rojan art Man taking woman from the rear. Spring Idyll

Fig. 35. Man taking woman from the rear. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)  

Rojan Preparing for penetration

Fig. 36. Preparing for penetration. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)  

 Rojan Man taking woman from the rear. Spring Idyll

Fig. 37. Missionary pose with man standing. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)


rojan the cowboy pose

.Fig. 38. The Cowboy pose, Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)


 Rojan After the copulation. Spring Idyll

Fig. 39. After the copulation. Spring Idyll, 1933 (liveinternet.ru)

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Sources: Wikipedia.org; liveinternet.ru; conchigliadivenere.wordpress.com

About the author
Darya is a philologist who lives and works in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She is specialized in Russian literature.
Carmelo Militano
By

Carmelo Militano

on 06 Feb 2022

Rojan work is bellissima. The clothes, facial expressions, the mischief and play of the couple; the imagery of wonderful delight in pleasure, kissing, fingering entering, smiling.

Marijn Kruijff
By

Marijn Kruijff

on 09 Feb 2022

Thanks Carmelo, and you're absolutely right!

Kishore Kosala
By

Kishore Kosala

on 18 Feb 2022

These paintings are comparable with photo taken by a high quality Camera. Praiseworthy

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