Saturday, November 14, 2009

Titania - Gustave Doré

"... Doré heightens the ethereal mood, with gauzy washes of pale color depicting the miniature fairy court that floats and flutters about Titania as she rests on her bower of woodbine. Swirling in circles the fairy ring's formation is cleverly echoed by the circular shape of the watercolors themselves. The pendant work, set deeper in the wood, consists of more heavily applied tones of violets, blues and yellows, creating a drowsy, dreamy effect to the scene, in which a central fairy blows a pair of trumpets made of flowers. Together, these works seem to illustrate the moment in the play's Scene II Act II where "There sleeps Titania sometime of the night/ Lull'd in the flowers with dances and delight."

"Gustave Doré was particularly fascinated with English literature. Since moving to London in 1866 to open a gallery of his works, the artist rediscovered British Romantic authors and other works of the literary canon via newly edited, republished editions. Throughout the following decade, Doré became a leading illustrator for these editions, and among his chief projects were Milton's 'Paradise Lost', Tennyson's 'Idylls of the King' and the works of Lord Byron and Charles Dickens. Above all, as Doré remarked, the "intention is to make Shakespeare my masterpiece” (La vie et l'oeuvre de Gustave Doré, Paris, 1983, p. 188, translated from the French). Yet the project never reached its full completion."
From the catalogue note.

24 3/4 by 31 1/4 in. / 63 by 79.5 cm
Each stamped with the artist's studio stamp.
Artist's Studio; sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 10-15, 1885.

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