Kat Posted April 14, 2006 Share Posted April 14, 2006 The Burial of AtalaAnne-Louis Girodet (1767-1824) (Atala au tombeau, dit aussi Les Funérailles d'Atala, 1808)I saw the Girodet exhibit at the Art Institute and it was awesome. Girodet was a student of David around the time of the French revolution, and his work has a more romantic flair. This piece, The Burial of Atala is based on a story of forbidden love by Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand. Here is the story behind the painting from the Art Institute site:Increasingly, Girodet explored themes of a more Romantic nature, taking up literary subjects that involved the irrational and the exotic, often portraying them in an erotic manner. In this way, his works embody an aesthetic ideal, breaking down the boundaries between poetry and painting. It was in his paintings and drawings illustrating literature that Girodet carried this fusion of literature and painting to its greatest extreme. In The Burial of Atala, Girodet paints a scene from François- René de Chateaubriand’s tragic love story, Atala, or the Loves of Two Savages in the Desert. This novel exemplifies the melancholic, exotic description of nature and evocative language that became trademarks of Romantic fiction, and it was immensely popular when it was published in 1801. It tells the story of the Christian maiden Atala, who frees the Indian brave Chactas from his enemies and finds refuge with him in the cave of the religious hermit Father Aubry. Having consecrated herself to God and a life of chastity, Atala takes poison when she fears she is falling in love with Chactas. After her death, Chactas vows to become a Christian himself. Commissioned by the director of a newspaper that opposed the Empire, Girodet’s painting elevates a subject from contemporary literature to the status of a major religious work. The monumental arrangement of the figures, the grotto setting, and the cross isolated against the distant sky recall The Dead Christ Supported by the Virgin. Self-portrait Portrait of Francois-Rene de ChateaubriandMademoiselle Lange as DanaëThis one has a very funny story behind it, but you have to see the exhibit for the explanation as the computer image simply does not do it justice!Here is a visual index to some of the works. The Four Seasons paintings are not to be missed. The image I posted earlier was from a small study of the four paintings and doesn't do justice to the big paintings. The way he paints details such as the sheer fabric on Spring is simply breathtaking and Autumn is squirting her own milk! There are too many pieces to show here but deserve mention... Hippocrates Refusing the Gifts of Artaxerxes is awesome but doesn't have a legible picture online, several based on mythology and many portraits, including Napolean and a freed slave named Jean-Baptiste Belley who gained political power. This exhibit is definitely worth seeing. Unfortunately, his controversial Cairo painting was not part of the exhibit. The exhibit will travel to New York and Canada after it leaves Chicago at the end of the month. Here is the schedule and press release:New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 24–August 27, 2006.Montreal, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, October 12, 2006–January 21, 2007Kat Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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