Hello all! I know most of you are familiar with my thesis topic and my conception of the “Femme Fragile” (the antithetical sister of the Femme Fatale type) and would love some suggestions from anyone who has a female character or painting in mind that represents the fragile feminine beauty from the late 19th century.
Good examples, from both painting and literature, are characters such as Ophelia (from Shakespeare’s Hamlet), Abbot-Thayer’s Angel, Edgar Allan Poe’s Ligeia, Dante’s Beatrice, L’Inconnu de Seine (the plaster cast death mask found in the Seine river in c.1890’s), Pre-Raphaelite art (too many to name!) and many women described in Baudelaire’s poetry and Huysman’s writings.
I would like to create a definitive list of examples/figures for my thesis appendix, and I’m having trouble narrowing it down. My blog, Fetish of Silence has exploded with hundreds of figures and paintings, reaching from Delacroix to Degas.
Any specific examples, literary or artistic, from the 1890’s (or previous historical prototypes) as well as early 20th century (1900-1910) expressions are welcome!
For instance, one famous, oft cited example is John Everett Millais’ Ophelia painting of a drowned woman in the thicket of a river bank surrounded by flowers and stiff with rigor mortis, from c.1851-2 held currently at the Tate, London.
“Here lies the lost souls who cling to the decaying beauty of Decadent literature and poetry. A group for appreciators of pessimistic literature that celibates despair, perversity and death. I am no connoisseur of Decadence having being slowly lead here by a trail of that has taken me through the entropic wastelands of the new wave into the cosmic void of horror and back into the forgotten places of the ghost story tradition… So pull up a seat in this decrepit café with other poets and lost souls and discuss decadent literature and poetry and history with the unlike-minded.”
For anyone who is interested in further reading or book recommendations, this is agroup on Goodreads I often submit material to, as well as post discussions and reading lists. Since this blog has become popular beyond all my expectations, I thought maybe you wonderful art historians might like to take a look. Enjoy! And please, submit, by all means!