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.
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.
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
Just your typical little painting of a starving mad-woman devouring her young, charming touch, the babe’s foot in the cauldron.
( Satan looking pretty hot)
( saucy little thing)
The precipitated inhumation
(gotta love THAT title)
(another saucy little thing)
(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.
To get a sense of the scale of his monumental paintings, check out the size of this gallery.
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 .
Hans Balgung Grien
For more images of Wiertz’s work click here.