Monday, April 9, 2012

-Atala at the Tomb-

Thinking about pieces of art that have moved me or influenced me the most, the piece that comes to mind first is "Atala at the Tomb" by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson in 1808The size of this painting and how someone could actually correctly sketch out and draw figures so proportionally correct is phenomenal. The drapery of the figures clothing was fantastic it looked as if you could reach out and touch it. Not to mention when taking a moment to ponder what the artist was trying to say through this image I immediately got chocked up and had to hold back tears from my eyes. The narrative behind this painting is somewhat watered down and I have cut and pasted a blurb of the intent of the narrative however, I just can't help but feel that the artist must have seen pain like this, of despair in loosing someone he desperately loved because the feeling flooded through the oil paint and into all my senses. Maybe he chose this subject matter due to his own loss.

After writing the above paragraph and then doing some research on the artist.... I found out that "He lost his parents in early youth and the care of his inheritance and education fell to his guardian, M. Trioson." Maybe it's just a coincidence but I really wonder if this is the reason that he was able to capture despair so perfectly through his imagery.

I'm not sure ...all I know is... out of all the paintings I saw in the Louvre including the Mona Lisa this image has burned itself into my mind and the sudden reaction to burst into tears has forever gained my appreciation for this artist and piece.

"Words are not really required to describe the scene. We have a heart-breaking image of purity, beauty, despair and sensuality, as Chactas clings to Atala’s legs refusing to lay her in the tomb, which he has already prepared. I think we have all experienced similar grief at some stage of our lives – the pain of having to say goodbye, of having to let go? We see Atala draped lightly in a white sheet with the last of the day’s sun making her radiate light, as if she were still alive, her hands clasped as if in prayer. She had such a struggle between her spiritual values of faith and her sensual values of love, but we look out of the cave to see the cross on the hill, which in a way reminds the viewer of the Christian promise of eternal life."

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