A Day of No Gods

Susie and Friends. Alex Prager. 2008

Susie and Friends. Alex Prager. 2008

Reclining Tahitian Women. Paul Gauguin. 1894

Reclining Tahitian Women. Paul Gauguin. 1894

A Day of No Gods. Paul Gauguin. 1894

The Day of the Gods. Paul Gauguin. 1894

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Auti Te Pape

Noa Noa Te Pape. Paul Gauguin. 1894-95.

Auti te Pape (Women at the River) from Noa Noa (Fragrant Scent) Series. Paul Gauguin. 1893-94. Woodcut.


The Birth of Olympia

With Olympia, Manet reworked the traditional theme of the female nude, using a strong, uncompromising technique. Both the subject matter and its depiction explain the scandal caused by this painting at the 1865 Salon. Even though Manet quoted numerous formal and iconographic references, such as Titian’s Venus of Urbino, Goya’s Maja desnuda, and the theme of the odalisque with her black slave, already handled by Ingres among others, the picture portrays the cold and prosaic reality of a truly contemporary subject. Venus has become a prostitute, challenging the viewer with her calculating look. This profanation of the idealized nude, the very foundation of academic tradition, provoked a violent reaction. Critics attacked the “yellow-bellied odalisque” whose modernity was nevertheless defended by a small group of Manet’s contemporaries with Zola at their head.

Text from Musée d’Orsay

Titian Venus of Urbino

Venus of Urbino. Titian. 1538

maja desnuda Goya

La Maja Desnuda. Francisco Goya. 1797-1800

Odalisque with slave by Ingres 1842

Odalisque with Slave. Ingres. 1842.

Olympia. Edouard Manet. 1863.

Olympia. Edouard Manet. 1863.


Head On a Stem

Head on a Stem. Odilon Redon.

Head on a Stem. Odilon Redon.


Arearea

Arearea (joyfulness). Paul Gauguin. 1982.

Arearea (Joyousness). Paul Gauguin. 1892.


April

April. Maurice Denis. 1892.

April. Maurice Denis. 1892.


Ophelia

“There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.”

― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Ophelia. John Everett Millais. 1851.

Ophelia. John Everett Millais. 1851.

Millais‘ emblematic representation of Shakespeare’s Ophelia recreated through the ages:

Virginia Madsen recreate Ophelia in this scene from the film Fire with Fire, 1986.

Virginia Madsen recreates Ophelia in this scene from the film Fire with Fire, 1986.

The Way Home. Tom Hunter. 1999-2001.

The Way Home. Tom Hunter. 1999-2001.

Untitled (Ophelia). Gregory Crewdson. 2001.

Untitled (Ophelia). Gregory Crewdson. 2001.

Alessandra Sanguineti. Ophelia. 2002.

Alessandra Sanguineti. Ophelia. 2002.

Erin Oconnor Posing as Ophelia. Nadav Kander. 2004.

Erin Oconnor Posing as Ophelia. Nadav Kander. 2004.

Almere - Ophelia. Ellen Kooi. 2006.

Almere – Ophelia. Ellen Kooi. 2006.

“Lay her i’ the earth:
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring!”