Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Back in France-- June 2013

I saw a whole lot of crazy stuff today at the Musée d'Orsay.   And I was prepared, having read up on it here.  Many images also here and here.

Bouguereau's 1850 painting of Dante and Virgil witnessing a homoerotic wrestling match that ends in  cannibalism is pretty dark. I wonder what the wealthy and influential neo-conservative promoters of his painting (and a lot of pretty awful academic naturalism) think about this?  

But Sleeping Monsters, shown at the Salon of 1906 by the Russia Sculptor Soudbinine  might be at the top of the nightmarish list. I'm not sure that any contemporary artists have anywhere left to go with babies and mounds of breasts.

 There were a lot of Fuseli paintings (not so good up close). Mad Kate is rather funny:

This lovely Redon was quite enchanting with its cold and presumably mildewed Gothic interior and the lit up stained glass.

I saw two young guys with cute punk haircuts staring at this Friedrich:

As expected, there were several Medusas, but Dardé's Eternal Sorrow (1913) was quite horrid and lovely.

Lévy-Dhurmer's Medusa / The Furious Wave has  snakes that have turned  into colorful seaweed (looking familiar and rather Atlantic in origin), lashing about in the water.

Because the show was ending with Surrealism, this was a really good set up for Hans Bellmer.  Charles Jeandel made these bondage cyanotypes in the 1890s, but they were "discovered" in the 1980s. 

There were many images of  DEATH and Femmes Fatales, like Gauguin's Madame La Mort and Jean Delville's Idol of Perversity.

But nothing really prepared me for this quite amazing Léon Frédéric (one of my favorite Symbolist / Naturalist Belgians). This is Vanity (1893). She has it all.  See through black blouse, red hair, skull AND hourglass and she is in a cemetery.

 So, I guess you know where my head was at when I saw this a few minutes later as I walked to the Trocadero.  I suppose that this could have been a fashion shoot on the top of a tourist bus, with the base of the Eiffel Tower in view, but they had a microphone and she was shaking her head around in a disturbing way.  Maybe there was a monster, or better yet, DEATH that was going to be CGI'd into the scene.


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