Read Gustave Moreau: Between Epic and Dream by Geneviève Lacambre Larry J. Feinberg Marie-Laure de Contenson Douglas W. Druick Online


Gustave Moreau (1826-1898) was one of the most influential and idiosyncratic painters of the nineteenth century. He developed a reputation as an artistic hermit, committed to a highly personal vision of painting that combined myth, mysticism, history, and a fascination with the bizarre and exotic. Yet Moreau was also a prominent public figure in the Paris art world, winninGustave Moreau (1826-1898) was one of the most influential and idiosyncratic painters of the nineteenth century. He developed a reputation as an artistic hermit, committed to a highly personal vision of painting that combined myth, mysticism, history, and a fascination with the bizarre and exotic. Yet Moreau was also a prominent public figure in the Paris art world, winning praise for exhibits at the Salon, becoming a respected teacher at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and exerting a powerful influence on Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, and the schools of Symbolism and Surrealism. This book, published to coincide with a spectacular international exhibition that marks the centenary of Moreau's death, presents a wide range of the artist's most famous and beautiful works along with penetrating essays and catalogue entries that explain his unique achievements in all their intellectual complexity and visual richness.The volume reproduces and describes in detail more than 200 of Moreau's works, ranging from such well-known paintings as "Orpheus" and "The Apparition" (one of his many treatments of Salome and the beheaded John the Baptist) to lesser known but revealing watercolors, drawings, and sculptures. Two particularly important paintings-- "Oedipus and the Sphinx" and "Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra" --are the focus of longer descriptions that cast light on Moreau's working methods. Genevieve Lacambre, Director of the Musee Gustave Moreau in Paris, introduces the volume and contributes an essay about Moreau's passionate interest in the "exoticism" of other cultures, particularly those of Persia and India. Marie-Laure de Contenson describes the artist's powerful attraction to medievalart and aesthetics. Larry Feinberg shows that Moreau was deeply influenced by the Italian Renaissance and, in particular, Leonardo and Michelangelo. Douglas Druick writes about Moreau's evocative symbolic language, which drew on unique reinterpretations of mythical figures and events to convey the artist's anxieties about the immorality and materialism of his age.This is a powerfully written and visually stunning record of the creativity and exquisite craftsmanship of Moreau's distinctive contributions to nineteenth-century art....

Title : Gustave Moreau: Between Epic and Dream
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ISBN : 9780691007342
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 308 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Gustave Moreau: Between Epic and Dream Reviews

  • Frank McAdam
    2019-05-06 09:21

    I posted several months ago regarding an exhibit of Pre-Raphaelite art I had seen at the Met Museum. I wrote then that:"The results of any such attempts to recreate the spirit of a vanished era must necessarily strike the viewer as artificial. They become cleverly executed tableaux rather than living works of art."In a certain sense, much the same could be said of the work of the prolific French painter Gustave Moreau. His late work, in fact, sometimes bears closer affinity to that of Edward Burne-Jones than it does to that of the Symbolist painters with whom he is usually grouped. This can be seen most clearly in such a painting as Orestes and the Erinyes (1895) or in The Poet and the Siren (1895), an oil on canvas he completed for adaptation into a tapestry.What crucially distinguishes Moreau's work from that of the Pre-Raphaelites, however, is the former's need to proceed beyond a historical or mythical mise-en-scène to the imagery of the unconscious mind. There are any number of archetypes, to use Carl Jung's terminology, occupying the canvases Moreau completed during his lifetime; and he reworked these same themes over and over as though fixated upon them. Salome, in the many representations Moreau completed of her, is not simply another Biblical character but becomes instead the very image of woman as the wanton seductress.At the same time, I feel it would be incorrect to label Moreau a Symbolist, a term which often seems no more than a catch phrase with which to label those fin de siècle artists who cannot otherwise be easily categorized. Most importantly, no matter how greatly his work may have been admired by Huysmans, Moreau was not in love with decadence for its own sake. It should be remembered that the artist was a respected member of the Academy who exhibited at the Salon and who taught at the École des Beaux Arts (where he counted Matisse, among others, as his pupil). Though he was always first and foremost a painter of historical and mythical scenes, his work nonetheless contained an added psychological dimension that made him a favorite of Breton and the Surrealists.Gustave Moreau: Between Epic and Dream was published in 1999 to accompany a large traveling exhibit that originated at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris. It is a sumptuous book and the reproductions are excellent throughout. It contains four short but informative essays followed by a catalog of 130 works. Not only are the majority of the major paintings displayed here but so too are the numerous preparatory sketches and studies that went into them. These show clearly what an exacting draftsman Moreau was in his working methods and how painstakingly he labored to create the final images. For example, accompanying Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra (1869-1876) are no less than 52 such preparatory works as well as a four-page essay by Larry J. Feinberg that carefully details the history of this painting as thoroughly as any reader could desire.The highlights of Moreau's career are all here: Orpheus (1865) in which a young woman holds the head and the lyre of the dead poet, The Triumph of Alexander the Great (1890) in which the conqueror receives the submission of a defeated king, and The Apparition (1876) in which Salome has a vision of the decapitated head of John the Baptist. But there are other works here as well which demonstrate conclusively that Moreau was more than just a genre painter. Among the most surprising pieces to be included in this volume are Moreau's experiments with pure color, such as Sketch of an Interior (1878), which anticipates twentieth century abstract painting and whose bright coloring almost outdoes that of the Fauves who followed and who looked upon Moreau as the source of their inspiration.After having read this volume and studied the images within it, I came away with new respect for Moreau. He was indisputably one of the important French artists of the late nineteenth century. If his works have fallen out of favor these days, it has more to do with changes in popular taste than with any failing on the part of the artist. After all, how many are there among us now who have received so sufficient a classical education as to be able to recognize the many classical allusions contained within the painter's oeuvre?

  • Thorlakur
    2019-05-01 09:31

    An extensive catalogue on the French symbolist painter Gustave Moreau. This is a very thorough investigation, detailing among other things the provenance of individual works. This book would have been greatly helped by more biographical chapters, thereby making it a perfect source to discover this great, but sometimes forgotten artist.