Gods and Foolish Grandeur

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Gathering toward the light - selected work by Anna Ancher

Solskin i den blå stue (Sunlight in the blue room), 1891.
Skageninteriør med en solstribe på gulvet (Skagen interior with a ray of sunlight on the floor), ND.
En blind kone i sin stue (A blind woman in her living room), 1883.
Syende fiskerpige (Sewing fisher girl), 1890.
Interiør. Brøndums anneks (Interior. Brøndums annex - a view of rooms in her father's hotel), circa 1920.
Kunstnerindens mor, Ane Brøndum, læsende i den røde stue (The artist's mother, Ane Brøndum, reading in the red room), 1910.
Interiør med en ung pige, der fletter sit hår (Interior with a young girl braiding her hair), 1891.
Solskin i den blindes stue (Sunshine in the room of the blind), 1885.
Pigen i køkkenet (The girl in the kitchen), 1883-86.
Pigen i køkkenet studie - study for the above painting, circa 1883.
Fru Ane Brøndum i den blå stue (Mrs. Ane Brøndum in the blue room), 1913.
Skagenskone med den lille Helga Ancher på skødet i solskin foran et hvidkalket hus... 
... (Skagen lady with little Helga Ancher on her lap in the sunshine in front of a whitewashed house), 1889.
Den røde stue. Interiør med kunstnerens datter Helga (The red room. Interior with the artist's daughter Helga), 1904.
Kunstnerens mor Ane Hedvig Brøndum i den blå stue (The artist's mother Ane Hedvig Brøndum in the blue room), 1909.
To småpiger får undervisning i syning (Two little girls receive lessons in sewing), 1910.
Aftensol i kunstnerens atelier på Markvej (Evening sun in the artist's studio on Markvej - Markvej is a street in Skagen), circa after 1913.
Kunstnerindens mor Ane Hedvig Brøndum siddende ved sit skrivebord i den røde stue...
... (The artist's mother Ane Hedvig Brøndum sitting at her desk in the red room), 1910.


Anna Ancher (18 August 1859, Skagen – 15 April 1935, Skagen), Danish artist associated with the Skagen Painters, the celebrated artist colony that gathered on the northern point of Jylland, Denmark. The daughter of a hotel owner, she was the only one of the colony painters who was actually born and grew up in Skagen. Her artistic abilities obvious from an early age, she later studied drawing for three years at the Vilhelm Kyhn College of Painting in Copenhagen. She also studied drawing in Paris at the atelier of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. In 1880 she married fellow painter Michael Ancher, with whom she had one child, Helga, who later became an artist herself. Despite pressure from contemporary society that married women should solely devote themselves to household concerns, she continued painting after her marriage. Considered one of Denmark's great pictorial artists, she was widely recognized as such even during her lifetime; her work was exhibited at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, and she was awarded the Ingenio et Arti medal in 1913, as well as the Tagea Brandt Rejselegat in 1924. She and her husband purchased a home in Skagen in 1884, and in 1913 added a large studio annex to the property. Upon their daughter's death in 1964, the house and all of its contents were left to a foundation, and the residence was restored and opened as a museum. The Anchers Hus still contains the family's original furniture, as well as paintings created by the Anchers and other Skagen artists.


And finally, though it certainly doesn't fit with the theme of this post, I had to include this, Ancher's remarkable, truly profound portrayal of grief.

Sorg (Grief), 1902.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Le fiancé - three photographs by Hervé Guibert

Le fiancé II, 1982.
Le fiancé I, 1982.
Le fiancé, circa 1980.


Hervé Guibert (14 December 1955, Saint-Cloud - 27 December 1991, Clamart), French writer and photographer. The author of more than thirty novels and autobiographical studies, he played a considerable role in changing French public attitudes to HIV/AIDS. From a middle-class family, by 1978 he was working for Le Monde and had published his second book; he was not yet twenty-three. In 1984, he shared a best screenplay César with Patrice Chéreau for Chéreau's L'homme blessé. (Coincidentally, one of my favorite twisted and dark - very dark - French films.) Diagnosed with AIDS in 1988, two years later he publicly revealed his HIV status in a roman à clef entitled À l'ami qui ne m'a pas sauvé la vie ("To the friend who did not save my life".) Upon its publication, he immediately found himself the focus of media attention, featured in newspapers and appearing on television talk shows. He continued to publish, including two more books which also detailed the progression of his illness. But two years later, by then almost blind from CMV, he attempted to end his life with an overdose of sleeping pills, one day before his thirty-sixth birthday; he survived, but died two weeks later.

(Ironically, for a time in the 1980s, Guibert was a reader at the institute for the young blind in Paris, Institut National des Jeunes Aveugles, an experience which informed his 1985 novel Des aveugles, published in English as Blindsight.)

Sunday, July 31, 2022

The wages of vengeance - Trittico della Vendetta, a triptych by Francesco Hayez, circa 1847-1853

Consiglio alla vendetta.

The Trittico della Vendetta (the Revenge Triptych) is a series of mid-nineteenth-century paintings by Francesco Hayez, the three vignettes centering on a woman named Maria and her revenge upon the lover who has betrayed her.

Consiglio alla vendetta (Vengeance is Sworn) was painted in 1851. It was the second work to be produced, but shows the first episode in the story. Now in the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna, it shows Maria's friend Rachel advising her to use political denunciation to wreak vengeance upon her lover.


Accusa segreta. 

Accusa segreta (Secret Accusation) was painted in 1847-48, and was therefore the first of the three to be completed, though it illustrates the second episode. It is now resides in the collection of the Musei Civici di Pavia. It shows Maria posting the letter, anonymously denouncing her lover.


La vendetta di una rivale or Le veneziane (copy).

La vendetta di una rivale or Le veneziane (The Revenge of a Rival or The Venetian Woman) dates from circa 1853. It shows the third episode, Maria repenting of her actions and trying to stop her denunciation from being delivered. Sadly, the present location of the original is unknown, though a copy now in the Villa Carlotta was probably made after the its success at the Brera exhibition of 1853. The composition of the third episode was replicated in a bronze bas-relief for the base of Francesco Barzaghi's 1890 monument to Hayez in the Piazzetta di Brera in Milan.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Considering the face of Apollo - preparatory sketch for a mural by Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret, 1901


This is a sketch for the face of Apollo in Dagnan-Bouveret's Apollon et les Muses au sommet du Parnasse (Apollo and the Muses at the top of Parnassus), a vast mural - a toile marouflée, actually: oil on canvas glued to the wall - which was completed in 1903 for the Amphithéâtre Richelieu of the Sorbonne.

Tête d’Apollon.

In looking for information on this piece, I also stumbled across another of Dagnan-Bouveret's preparatory studies of Apollo, the figure rather than the face.


The Amphithéâtre Richelieu of the Sorbonne.
And early postcard reproduction of the painting.
Apollon et les Muses au sommet du Parnasse, 1903. Above, the motto Pacem summa tenent (something like "they hold the highest peace".) 


As an example of just how confounding the internet can sometimes be, I found these three very different versions of the drawing. All are still clearly the original work, but which is closest to reality? I guess I'll never know for certain. So for my own "edition" I tried to come down somewhere in the middle.