LArt Du Self-Control (Le Pouvoir De La Pensée t. 4) (French Edition)

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Oedipus and the Sphinx was the major event of the Salon fig. Critics recognized in him a champion of "the painting of style" 6 in the most elevated sense and a defender of the prerogatives of intellectual conception. His deeply meditated work apparently came forth, like Athena from Jupiter's brow, "fully formed from the artist's brain.

It displayed the perfect "unity of thought and form, the intimate fusion of spiritual and material elements. Few paintings, however, focused the debate between idealism and realism so pointedly, and Moreau's work did so in part because it thematized the struggle between Spirit and Matter through the concentrated drama of Oedipus's confrontation with the Sphinx. Moreau's private commentary on the painting reads as follows: The painter envisages man, having arrived at the grave and severe hour of life, finding himself in the presence of the eternal enigma.

Just as Oedipus represented man in his "grave and severe" maturity, Moreau sought through his Salon entry to demonstrate his new-found maturity as an artist who had passed through the crucible of Italy. Moreau had conceived of his sojourn in quasi-religious terms, giving himself over to his art with the ascetic fervor of the hermit or "cenobite," 18 laying stock on intensive artistic study, a diet of spiritually edifying literature, and the renunciation of worldly distractions and sensual gratifications.

This sense of vocation conformed to humanist conceptions of the celibate artistic genius who sublimated his sexual energy into higher, cultural forms, and to romantic and Christian notions of a devotional cult of art which can be traced back, in the nineteenth century, to the German Nazarenes one of their key inspirational texts being Wackenroder's Confessions of an Art-loving Monk. I imagine that [Moreau] wanted to personify here the struggle of reason and morality against human passions and the excitation of the senses. In Laverdant's tract, "Spirit of the Salon—Against the Sphinx and Satan; for Jesus-Christ, the Virgin Mother and Paradise," the critic saw Oedipus as a figure of moral strength stoically conquering ignoble passions and resisting the tempting illusions of earthly life.

Madrid, Museo del Prado.

ENRIQUE Jorge and the art’rules

As a projection of his artistic ethic, Moreau tapped into dominant themes of contemporary allegorical painting in the Salon. Cooke has suggested parallels to representations of the temptation, inevitably coming in the form of women , of saints, 25 to which I would add allegories directly involving artists.

La puissance de la pensée positive - Norman Vincent Peale

In theme if not in style, Moreau's Oedipus resonates with works like Jean-Raymond-Hippolyte Lazerges' Genius Extinguished By Voluptuousness Salon , in which a poet is shown having forsaken his lyre and given himself over to the pleasures of women and wine fig. Sharing the basic moral framework of such allegories, Moreau differentiated himself by emphasizing his protagonist's grim-faced resistance to the female temptress, his moral ascendancy rather than defeat.

If Moreau's Oedipus served as a veiled autobiographical statement to which one might be tempted to add some facile gloss like "Voluptuousness defeated by Genius" , it also served as a kind of public manifesto for his ideal of history painting, which he upheld against contemporary materialism. That Moreau's sphinx takes on charming coquettish form suggests that the painting engages with the erotic mythologies, particularly in the form of the female nude, so popular with the contemporary administration and industrial bourgeoisie.

Moreau's painting substitutes for a horizontal axis equating fleshly woman and seductive, pigmented matter a vertical, spiritualizing axis equating man with "moral force" and intellectual domination. The humid splash zone of Baudry's seashore is countered by the rarefied atmosphere of Moreau's mountains. Baudry's sensual colorism likewise gives way to Moreau's astringent linear severity and deliberate archaisms, which were inspired partly by his passion for the Italian primitifs whose supposed spiritual purity and naivety had been touted by Catholic art historians. Gustave Moreau, Cartoon for Oedipus and the Sphinx.

White chalk and charcoal. The painting's stylistic severity and extreme degree of finish reinforce the deeply gendered premises of academic art theory. Painting as a liberal art had to demonstrate the dominance of an intellectual i. Just as critics understood Oedipus, who defeated the sphinx with brains rather than brawn, to represent the force of intellect, 28 so too did they find Moreau to represent an intellectual ideal of artistic volition and technical mastery.

Critics praised the certitude that seemed to govern the painting's tight execution, and suggested that it had to have been the result of long and patient meditation—something in increasingly short supply in the commercially-driven art world with its accelerated exhibition schedule. Each piece [of painting] … has been seriously willed. Each part of his painting is seriously and carefully reasoned and pondered. Moreau: not one superfluous line, not one detail that does not bear the imprint of reflection.

In a draft of his commentary, he wrote: A traveler at the severe and mysterious hour of life, man encounters the eternal enigma that presses and bruises him. A radically different reading of the painting begins thereby to suggest itself. Has Moreau not painted the image of the artist-hero fixed upon his ideal in the form of the sphinx , an artist who has overcome the superficial lures of worldly fame, official honors and material success, the emblematic signs of which litter the bottom of the composition and are associated with the sphinx's victims?

Oedipus stands as a testament to that credo. More pointedly, the myth spoke to Moreau's initiation into ancient and Renaissance art in Italy.

Further reading

In Egyptian culture, the sphinx assumed sacrosanct status as guardian of divine mysteries and the dead. Analogously, Moreau treated art historical tradition as a kind of mystery religion or cult of the dead, with the apprentice painter aspiring gnostically to be a hierophant or initiate into its secrets.

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In a painting meant to testify to Moreau's intensive interrogation of the old masters over the preceding years, Oedipus's silent interrogation of the sphinx offered the perfect subject. Critics, moreover, were quick to read it in connection to Moreau's recent studies. As Paul de Saint-Victor noted: "he traveled in Italy, searching for his path, frequenting the masters, interrogating the oracles. He returns to us today with a painting that sums up these ten years of solitary initiation. As Hector Callias conjured the painting's scene: "Moreau found himself … pensive on the side of the path …; he knew that to arrive at this Olympus [i.

To guide his first steps on this dangerous route, he has made the choice of a master. Gustave Moreau, before the enigma of the Sphinx. Reinforcing this reading is the fact that the Oedipus myth had prompted metaphors of artistic emulation elsewhere, particularly in connection to Sophocles' drama.

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Moreau's timing could not have been more symbolic. Just as his work testified to his enriching experiences in Italy, Ingres had executed his work in Italy as a recipient of the Prix de Rome and sent it to Paris for academic approval as one of his required envois.

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Though Moreau had traveled independently at his family's expense, his painting functioned in its own way as an envoi de Rome to rival Ingres' painting, which had been consecrated at the Universal Exhibition and the subject of high-flown paeans. Gustave Moreau, Studies for Oedipus and the Sphinx. Pencil on paper.

Writing from Paris to Moreau in Italy and referring to the Salon and the allegedly lamentable state of the arts it revealed, Cantaloube was full of encouragement: Believe me, dear friend, the place is … there for the taking if you set aside analysis and trust in your vigorous native temperament. From Francis Bacon to Hegel and beyond, the sphinx, in its capacity as a poser of riddles, was the emblem for the veiled science of allegory.

Moreau's representation of the sphinx automatically placed his painting within the framework of allegory's traditionally sacred hermeneutics, declaring that his art would perforce be mysterious. Moreau laid great stock in mystery, seeing it as the key attribute of a sacred art reserved for superior spirits, for those blessed with "divination, the intuition of things. That mysterious character might stupefy and shock "mindless people," but it was conducive to imaginative reverie in more sympathetic spirits. She became the allegorical emblem for an allegorizing art and implicitly placed the viewer in the position of Oedipus, forcing him to divine her secrets.


The instantaneity of this kind of visual response may have become tainted for Moreau by its possible associations with the superficial modes of distracted, scattered viewing that increasingly typified people's experience at the Salon. By painting a sphinx wholly absorbing Oedipus's attention in a strangely frozen scenario, Moreau implied, and critics understood, that his painting sought to address the mind in fixing the gaze and to force one to reflect on the painting's meaning, to exercise one's intellect at a moment when painting seemed to be restricting itself more and more to the fleeting, flattering address of the senses.

Given its links to allegory, the sphinx had acquired deeply negative associations by the nineteenth century. Auguste Bougot, for example, in his Essay on Art Criticism , used the Sphinx as a metaphor for criticism, the goal of which was to reveal the "intimate thought" embodied in a work. All works of art were silent sphinxes whose secrets needed to be unlocked. Moreau's poetic imagination was structured according to fundamental religious and philosophical oppositions between Spirit and Matter.

In the case of Oedipus and the Sphinx , it seems clear that he mobilized his subject matter to dramatize these oppositions and, by extension, to engage polemically in the artistic struggles of his time. He emerges as a staunch proponent of a traditional humanist, academic paradigm of painting in which the material element of art was subordinated to the spiritual at a time when that paradigm was coming under assault. As I have shown, Moreau's choice and treatment of the subject of Oedipus and the Sphinx resonated powerfully with current artistic metaphors—a fact confirmed by the ease with which critics translated Moreau's subject back into metaphor when reviewing his work.

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Indeed, the subsistence of the myth as a source of artistic metaphors in 19th-century criticism was one of the very conditions of possibility for Moreau's self-reflexive allegory. Rather than present the image of an artist-scholar scouring mythological dictionaries, I have tried to portray a different Moreau: one who capitalized on the currency of such metaphors to imperiously mark a space for himself in the Salon.

This paucity of information contrasts with the numerous hints to be found in the songs and diaries of people like Agricol Perdiguier and Martin Nadaud, who wrote in the first half of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless we could learn about the attitudes and patterns of behaviour from various documents of handicraft folklore - apart from.

Work pratices of French joiners and cabinet-markers in the eighteenth century [article] Hans-Ulrich Thamer.

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Nevertheless we could learn about the attitudes and patterns of behaviour from various documents of handicraft folklore - apart from 1 Daniel Roche ed. However, he distances from them in other singular things. Because I am philosopher before being art critic, I see in his genius, something Kantian. Indeed, for Kant, the genius is the nature which gives his rules to the art. By being who he is, they are what they are. We have here a beautiful illustration of what are rules in Art.

French Version. Their charm comes from the research of an unconventional language that uses the painting as vehicle. He represents the search for a particular communication technique, that takes shape also thanks to the used instruments. In my humble opinion, today, the difference between a good artist and a genius is above all in the communication form. I thinks that if the artist uses an original technique thanks to tools, materials, etc. In my opinion, Enrique Jorge is a great example of what the Contemporary Artist has to try to paint… a genius.