Death and the Maiden, Antoine Wiertz and morbidity

I have within my collection a small little souvenir catalog (19th cent.) from the Musée Wiertz in Brussels. It is brittle and yellowed with age; within glorious sepia images, shocking in content. Rich, narrative paintings, exploring darkness. I thought Wiertz and his work suitable for this season of hobgoblins.

The two young girls or the pretty Rosine

1847

oil on canvas

Musée Wiertz, Brussels

I would love to share images from the catalog, but it is so fragile, I rarely open it. I will just share the cover.

author’s collection

A talented  artist, prone to bombastic paintings,often dismissed by his contemporaries; his work will most likely find few  admirers in our current culture of restraint.

I of course love him, but I tend to favor the derided art pompier school of painting.

Antoine Joseph Wiertz

b. Feb. 22nd 1806

d. Jun. 18th 1865

Why Wiertz focused so frequently on the dark and disturbing I do not know, but it couldn’t have helped his popularity.

Please be prepared, many of the images are gory.


Hunger, Madness, Crime

1864

Just your typical little painting of a starving mad-woman devouring her young, charming touch, the babe’s foot in the cauldron.

Suicide

1854

( Satan looking pretty hot)

Guillotined Head

1855

The young sorceress

( saucy little thing)

The precipitated inhumation

(gotta love THAT title)

Quasimodo

Satan

(another saucy little thing)

A Scene in Hell

1864

(love the Napoleon reference, perhaps in response to his poor Parisian reception)

Although clearly prolific, Wiertz did not enjoy widespread acclaim. As hinted at above, Paris was less then enthused. He did manage to persuade the Belgian State to construct a museum devoted to his life work.

Musée Wiertz

Brussels

To get a sense of the scale of his monumental paintings, check out the size of this gallery.

Interior Musée Wiertz

end wall,” Revolt of the Hell against the Heaven”.

In the end, Wiertz died in his studio, evidently his remains buried a la pharoah,according to some sacred Egyptian burial rite.

A grand fitting end .

I will close with a gallery devoted to Death & the Maiden

Three ages of woman and death

Hans Balgung Grien

1509-1510

Wishing you a cheery week!

Respectfully submitted,

Babylon Baroque

For more images of Wiertz’s work click here.

source

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3 Responses to “Death and the Maiden, Antoine Wiertz and morbidity”

  1. Leonard, LOVE these! Not acquainted with Wiertz so thanks for the intro. I especially love Hunger, Madness, Crime and The Young Sorceress. Very affecting.

    Also, love the final photo of the lugubrious little lass with the skull on her lap. So self-possessed…or other-possessed? Charles Addams’s inspiration for Wednesday, perhaps?! Great!

  2. Certainly would remind you of Wednesday.

    & yes I too love Hunger, Madness, Crime as well, it shocked the hell out of me!

    BB

  3. babylonbaroque Says:

    and of course the sorceress is a dream

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