Archive for the Memento Mori Category

Sarah Bernhardt, Dark Spirit

Posted in 19th cent., Memento Mori, Recquiscat in Pace, Sarah Bernhardt, Sculpture, Silent Film on October 27, 2010 by babylonbaroque

As October closes and I have less and less excuses to indulge my darker tastes, I thought it wise to end with Sarah.

Sarah had the great charm of not only being a lively sprite, indulging fully in what life presented to her; she also seemed to take great pleasure in darker delights.

Many may be familiar with her magnificent inkstand, fashioned in her likeness; a sphinx eager to devour the hearts of men, bearing upon her shoulder emblems of her craft, Tragedy & Comedy.

Inkwell

Self portrait as Sphinx

ca. 1880

artist: Sarah Bernhardt

1844-1923

bronze

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Not only gifted on stage but  the studio as well, gotta love the gal.

That ostrich plume will just drive you mad.

As a boy I encountered this image of Sarah in her coffin. any devotee of the Divine One knows the image, but I never tire of it. Evidently neither did her public, it was wildly popular.

by Milandru

Sarah Bernhardt posing in her coffin

ca. 1880

albumen print cabinet card

Bibliothèque Nationale de France

I love the inclusion of her portrait bust , she is the artist of course.

Portrait Bust

ca. 1878 Sarah Bernhardt

Museé d’ Orsay

Paris

As an actress she of course excelled at Tragedy, here she is as the great Elizabeth encountering Essex, having had ordered his execution. You don’t get more dramatic then this, her hand wailing- I can totally relate …

ca. 1899

Sadly all the play acting came to an end, we only have bits of brittle film to remember her by.

At least she is eternal neighbors with Oscar.

And with that,

Babylon Baroque

Death and the Maiden, Antoine Wiertz and morbidity

Posted in 19th cent., A. Wiertz, art pompier, Death & the Maiden, Hans Grien, Memento Mori on October 18, 2010 by babylonbaroque

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

source

Teutonic Splendor, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, and the Great Exhibition of 1851

Posted in 1851 Great Exhibition, 19th cent., chair, George Greig, Gothic Revival, Memento Mori, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, sideboards on June 18, 2010 by babylonbaroque

In continuing my mania for all things Teutonic, prompted by my Ring experience, I present this architectural wonder.

Last week I showcased a Gothic Revival chair, part of a set shown at the Great Exhibition of ’51. the set included a sideboard, the sideboard follows.Sideboard or buffet

ca. 1851

designer, Ferdinand Rothbart

makers, Thomas Hoffmeister and Thomas Behrens

carved oak and brown plush

place of origin, Coburg

acquired by the V&A in 1967

In addition to last weeks chair,shown below, and in last weeks post,

the sideboard was commissioned by the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg, Albert’s neck of the woods. As I mentioned last week the chairs and this splendid sideboard,  described as “in the German-Gothic style of the middle ages”, were shown at the Great Exhibition of 1851.

by G. Baxter

from Lane’s telescopic view of the ceremony of Her majesty opening the Great Exhibition of All Nations,

designed by Rawlins, London, August 15th 1851

It would have been difficult for the dashing and reform minded prince to resist the pieces. Aside from their great beauty and craftsmanship, his ties as a member of the house of Saxe-Coburg, and a childhood raised in Coburg , would have made the set irresistible. Typical of so much that I love about these ponderous 19th century sideboards, more like an entire Gothic city block, is that they are overwrought with a particular theme. In this case Germanic “Gothick”, and the ever present love the Germans have for the forest. Forest dwellers such as deer, boars, and a bear frolic about, unaware of the huntsmen with bugle and spears in hand. I’ve mentioned before my love of hunt themed sideboards, this one combined with a motif of rose windows, gothic arcades, a central shield and accented in brown plush, is just too wonderful to resist.

Good purchase your Majesty.

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha

ca. 1842

b. 26th August 1819

d. 14th December 1861

by Franz Xavier Winterhalter

(He was a handsome devil.)

Initially intended for Balmoral, it and the chairs ended up as I mentioned last week in the Evening Drawing Room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh.

The sideboard and chairs, two of which are shown, are illustrated in a watercolor by George Greig  ca. 1863.

George Miller Grieg

artist to the Queen

The image is especially poignant as it is most likely a memento of the Queen’s loss. The Prince had just died and the two female figures are in deep mourning dresses.

The image is small but the sideboard and chairs are visible if you look closely.

On that happy note, Happy Father’s Day dear Prince.

Have a great weekend.

BTW, the watercolor, ” Palace of Holyroodhouse: the presence Chamber or Evening Drawing Room”, by George Greig, 1863, is part of the Royal Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Wouldn’t want to offend the Queen.

Memento Mori Monday

Posted in Capucin Crypt, Memento Mori on June 7, 2010 by babylonbaroque

In preparing for a painting I am working on, St. Anthony in the Desert, I was researching Death, particularly in the guise of monarch and pope.

I came upon the following resources , mostly from the Capucin Crypts and the Imperial Crypt of Vienna.

Lovely way to start the week, enjoy!

You must admit, the willingness to explore death, to look it in the eye, and not flinch, is admirable.

Monarch, man, or Pope.

Just amazing.

Enjoy today.