Monday, November 28, 2011

An Astonishing Rochegrosse

The Musée d'Orsay recently completed its renovation. Galleries have been reorganized, paintings rehung.

I have no plans to visit Paris any time soon, so like many readers of this blog, I'll just have to read reviews and try to imagine how things look.

One painting whose fate I'm curious about is this one:

Le chevalier aux fleurs - The Knight of the Flowers - c.1894
Click to enlarge.

It's by Georges Antoine Rochegrosse (1859-1938) and the d'Orsay's web site offers this commentary.

So why did I use the word "astonishing" in this post's title?

For one thing, it's huge -- 2.35 meters high by 3.76 meters wide. And it's bright; compositionally, there are few dark areas to tie things together. But what struck me most when I first saw it were the reflections on Parsifal's suit of armor. By pulling in the surroundings, they made Parsifal almost as ethereal as the rest of the scene.

I don't suppose professional art critics would ever call it a great painting. Me? I find it an astonishing (there's that word again!) tour de force.

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