French Symbolist artist, Gustave Moreau, was born on 6th of April, 1826. Symbolism, was a 19th century art movement of by the French, Russians and the Belgians; more prominent in the latter half of the century.

Musée Gustave Moreau (Sept 2009) Moreau's House, now a museum

 

Moreau, was lucky enough to be born into a very highly cultured couple with a great taste and respect for the arts. His father was an architect, who encouraged his son’s artistic talent, and his mother took care of her son’s delicate health for the rest of her life. Moreau never married and remained with his mother, until her death. In 1895, Moreau extended his home to create sufficient space for a massive studio to house all his works, so that it could end up being a museum after his death. Moreau died in 1898, after contracting stomach cancer an year earlier.

I wasn’t that familiar with Gustave Moreau’s work, until I went to live in Paris in 2008, but it was more than an year later that I finally got to know what his works were like up close and personal, when I visited the Gustave Moreau Museum in Sept 2009, just days before leaving Paris. Most of his works are biblical references and mythological images. Being a student with a background of Art, Literature (including the classics – Greek & Roman literature) and cinema; I fell in love with Moreau’s unique works. I spent practically an entire day studying his numerous works. The museum closes for lunch and re-opens, so I went in the morning, saw some of his works, went out had my lunch, and was standing outside his house before they re-opened. Moreau had done more than 8,000 paintings and over 13,000 drawings and watercolours in his lifetime, and most of his works are housed at the Musée Gustave Moreau. Not all his works are up on the wall, some are in cupboard forms that you open and each work is inside a glass that you have to keep opening till you reach the end. His works reminded me of another era, influences of the renaissance, neoclassicism, also some works had a feel for the impressionist; and as the 20th century French writer and poet, André Breton, famed for his Surrealist Manifesto’s, had thought of ‘Moreau as a precursor of Surrealism‘. Surrealism, happens to be my favourite modern art style, that began in the 1920’s, and Salvador Dalí, happens to be my favourite surrealist artist ever. 

In 1891, Gustave Moreau became a professor at Paris’ École des Beaux-Arts, an institute I wish I could have been a part of. Most of his students were to be famed artists of the future. The likes of Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, Jules Flandrin, Theodor Pallady and Léon Printemps; were all his students.

Gustave Moreau was a true artist, in the sense his works weren’t for sale. That’s one of the main reasons he wasn’t as famous as his peers. But Moreau was a genius, and since he wasn’t for sale, most of his works are all available for viewing, in one location, his house, i.e. Musée Gustave Moreau (Gustave Moreau Museum), in Paris. How many artist works are available to view within one location, not that many, and definitely not a collection like this.

Musée GM (NS)

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Couple of my Artworks derived from Moreau.

Aprés Moreau

 

Nuwan Sen’s Art Sense, Nuwan Sen’s Artworks.

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