September 30, 2023


How Art Works

103/ Mad about Baudelaire and his Venus statue or Artwork networks of illustrated publications (4)

5 min read

“… Mais l’implacable Vénus regarde au loin je ne sais quoi avec ses yeux de marbre.”

(… However the implacable Venus seems to be into the space I do not know what together with her marble eyes)

Charles Baudelaire: ‘Le Fou et la Vénus’ (1)

 This put up celebrates the bicentenary of the delivery of the good/biggest French poet: Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), with a couple of illustrations of ‘Le Fou et la Vénus’, the quick story nr 7 out of fifty from his well-known assortment referred to as ‘Le Spleen de Paris – Petits Poèmes en Prose’ (1).

Fig.1 is a collage with the {photograph} of Baudelaire by Étienne Carjat (c.1862) and the image of an unidentified statue of Venus, representing correctly the ideas of Baudelaire (2). Fig.2 presents the story on a YouTube video (3). The complete French textual content and its translation in English are proven in Fig.3 (4).

Determine 1 Collage for a YouTube video (2)

Determine 2 (3)

Determine 3 The poem in French and its translation in English (4)

The variety of artists who created illustrations for the quite a few editions of Baudelaire’s works worldwide, typically in luxurious editions, has been estimated as 220 in 2017 (5). Not less than 40 artists are recognized for illustrating ‘Le Spleen de Paris’, however largely with lower than 50 illustrations. Therefore, not often they chose the story of  ‘Le Fou et la Vénus’ and a few depictions are quite untrue to the creativeness of the Baudelaire. Fig.4 reveals three illustrations.

  •  A. Illustration of 1921 by Alméry LOBEL-ROCHE (1880-1950) with the classical statue referred to as the Venus of Knidos; the madman clamps with each arms the knee and higher leg of Venus who stares in an wrong way (6).
  • B. llustration of 1922 by Louise HERVIEU (1878-1954), engraved by Léon SCHUTZENBERGER (1863-1950); the madman is touching a big pedestal with on high a half-length determine holding a mirror and reshuffling her hair (7). 
  • C. Illustration of 1950 by Paul HANNAUX (1897-1954);  the madman is clinching to the legs of a statue depicted with out higher half (8).

                Determine 4 Three illustrations: A of 1921 (5), B of 1922 (6) and C of 1950 (7)

Philippe ROSENTHAL (1965-2003) created in 2002 an oil portray representing a nude feminine determine with a buffoon at her ft (Fig.5). It was used as the quilt picture for his booklet ‘Le petit Baudelaire illustré’ (9) and as illustration for a current literary evaluation by Cécile Boisbieux of « Le Fou et la Vénus », understood as an allegory of the poet confronted with the cruelty of Magnificence: “l’implacable Vénus”, a great inaccessible (10).

Determine 5 Philippe ROSENTHAL, oil on canvas 2002

See beneath  Remark nr 1 8 June 2022 in regards to the newest illustration of 2022 by Marlene DUMAS of ‘Le fou et la Vénus’

The narrative has additionally been in comparison with the poem ‘La Beauté’ from Baudelaire’s earlier and most well-known assortment Les Fleurs du Mal’ (Fig 6) (11).

      Determine 6  Poem ‘La Beauté’ from ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ and its English translation (11)

 Some phrases certainly are related for the statue of ‘Le Fou et la Vénus’

« …comme un rêve de pierre…Eternel et muet… Et jamais je ne pleure et jamais je ne ris. 

Mes yeux, mes larges yeux  aux clartés éternelles ! ».   

Baudelaire was additionally a revered artwork critic and the third strophe of ‘La Beauté’  could check with it:   

« Les poètes, devant mes grandes attitudes,

Que j’ai l’air d’emprunter aux plus fiers monuments,

Consumeront leurs jours en d’austères études; 

 Moreover Baudelaire wrote in his annotations ‘Mon Cœur mis à nu’ (12):  

“LVII Glorifier le culte des photographs (ma grande, mon distinctive, ma primitive ardour).»

‘To glorify the cult of photographs (my nice, my solely, my earliest ardour)’

On that account, he definitely has recognized ‘Le Musée de Sculpture vintage et moderne’, a publication debated within the foregoing put up (13). Wherefore, a Google Album, with 230 Venus statues, extracted from this labour with 3658 illustrations, is suitable to have fun Baudelaire and his Venus statue, an instance of the shut relationship between the ‘sister arts: literature and visible arts’.


Determine 8 230 illustrations of Venus extracted from ‘Musée de sculpture vintage’ (Google Album)

See extra posts about forgotten artists who illustrated well-known publications:

Might 18, 2021 99/ Artwork networks of illustrated publications (1): The Temple of Gnide

July 25, 2021 101/ Artwork networks of illustrated publications (2): Antiquities

October 25, 2021 102/ Artwork networks of illustrated publications (3): a disordered hyper-network

April 13, 2022 107/ Artwork networks of illustrated publications (5): define engravers of the early 19thcentury in France




  1. ‘Le Spleen de Paris’, a group of tales, some printed earlier, was first printed in 1864 however interrupted by the editor ‘Le Figaro’. The complete assortment was printed posthumous in 1869. The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) is celebrating the bicentenary of Baudelaire with an exhibition ‘Baudelaire, la modernité mélancolique’BnF I François-Mitterrand I Galerie 1. 3 novembre 2021 – 13 février 2022.  
  2. The supply of the  {photograph} by Etienne Carjat is Wikipedia Commons. The YouTube video is by Odyssia TV 
  3. YouTube video by Littérature – Livres Audio AudioBook
  4. On the left: French textual content from Wikisource – la bibliothèque libre: ‘Page: Baudelaire – Petits poèmes en prose 1868.djvu/26’. On the proper: English translation of James Huneker in ‘The Poems and Prose Poems of Charles Baudelaire’ New York Brentano’s Publishers 1919,  obtainable in 
  5. Ivan Bernier: Les illustrateurs de Baudelaire 125 ans d’illustration baudelairienne En collaboration avec Albert Legault, 2016. 
  6.  Charles Baudelaire: Le Spleen de Paris, Petits Poemes en Prose. Version illustrée de

    trente eaux-fortes du peintre graveur Lobel-Riche. Ornements typographiques dessinés et gravés sur bois par Louis Jou. Edité par Le Livre du Bibliophile G.&R. Briffaut, Paris, 1921. 


7. Le spleen de Paris – poèmes en prose de Charles Baudelaire avec des illustrations de

Louise Hervieu gravées sur cuivre par Schutzenberger. Editions de la Banderole à Paris [1922]. 

8. Charles Baudelaire Le Spleen de Paris–Petits poèmes en prose. Illustrations gravées

sur cuivre de Paul HANNAUX. Aux dépens d’un beginner, Paris 1950. 



9. Philippe ROSENTHAL : Le Petit Baudelaire illustré. Publibook des Ecrivains 2004. 


Cécile Boisbieux ‘Charles Baudelaire, « Le Fou et la Vénus » : explication de texte’ in BONOMOTS – Le goût des Belles-lettres et des jolis mots 

11. is devoted to Charles Baudelaire and his poems ‘Les Fleurs du mal’ (Flowers of Evil). It contains every poem together withmultiple English translations.

12. ‘Mon Cœur mis à nu’ is a manuscript of very heterogeneous notes by Baudelaire, 97 pages, dated in all probability 1852-66. Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des Manuscrits. NAF 19800   It was printed autopsy in 1887 in ‘Œuvres posthumes’

13. Put up of October 25,2021 : 102/ Artwork networks of illustrated publications (3): a disorderedhyper-network 


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