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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gustave Doré Exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay

So many beautiful things happening at the Musée d'Orsay these days, it seems. If you are in Paris at all from 18th February11th May, do visit the new exhibition of select works by French artist Gustave Doré.

Click here for more information on the artist and the exhibition, Gustave Doré (1832–1883): Master of Imagination

Puss in Boots, 1862
Perhaps best known for his highly detailed wood engravings and illustrations, Doré was also a prolific painter and sculptor. I am not very familiar with much of his work, but I I'd like to see his illustrations for Cervantes' Don Quixote and the ones he did for several fairy tale commissions. I also hope the exhibition has a showcase of his carved blocks for people to see.

However, what I do know of are his engravings for Tennyson's Idylls of the King, several of which I think are so delicate and beautiful, in both execution and atmosphere.

The Dawn of Love (1867)

The image above is one of my favourites and one I've remembered since high school, I believe. I love this three-quarter view of Guinevere's horse, the drooping mane, that right foreleg…as figures and as a shape, I think they sit so nicely on the page. Everything is soft and gentle in this very private scene.

For those of you on this side of the Atlantic, come visit the University of Rochester's Robbin's Library, where you can find many volumes and folios of Doré's works. Or, have a look here for some images on the UofR's Camelot Project site.

Statue of d'Artagnan, 1883 (rear face; front is a tribute to Alexandre Dumas, père) 
This statue took my friend and I a while to hunt down because at the time I could only find some very vague information as to its location. I believe that day we were walking from Montmartre to Triomphe and did not know exactly where along the Boulevard Malesherbes it should be…and I was not about to leave without finding this gorgeous statue! Click here for a cleaner image. So, just in case, if you would like to know: if you stand by the Metro at Malesherbes, you cannot miss it in the Place du Général-Catroux. Afterwards, take a stroll past the colonnade and pond in the lovely Parc Monceau nearby.

I have a feeling Doré's work had a significant influence on the works of later artists and engravers -- especially Maurice Leloir (1853-1940), who produced some fantastic images, so full of life, swagger, and panache for Dumas' books, including this scene from The Three Musketeers

They walked Arm-in-Arm, occupying the whole Width of the Street, 1894 (Leloir)
A post on Leloir alone will be coming! 

But back to Doré. Here are a couple of helpful links with many more images of this artist:

Illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy:

A very a nice general collection of images:

Project Gutenberg edition of illustrations for the Bible:

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