So-called ‘whore dialogues’ were a favourite literary form in late fifteenth and early sixteenth century Italy, and Pietro Aretino (1492–1556) was the master of that form. His Ragionamenti, or Dialogue of the Courtesans, is the best known, but several other similar texts exist, some of which are known to be by him and others almost certainly by other writers cashing in on his popularity.

Dialoghi doi di Ginevra e Rosana, published in 1584, is one such ‘attributed to Aretino’ text, which first appeared in French in 1774 as Les entretiens de Magdelon et de Julie, and in this 1930 edition as La putain errante: dialogue de Madeleine et Julie (The Errant Whore: The Conversations of Madeleine and Julie). The text is a fairly standard exchange of most-interesting sexual experiences, the perfect excuse for Collot to produce one of his portfolios of erotic encounters of various flavours. As always, his line is sure and his colours muted – vintage Collot.

La putain errante was privately published in Paris, in a numbered edition of 150 copies. A second edition, again of 150 copies, was produced four years later.

We are very grateful to our French friend Frédéric for sharing these images with us.