Venus Asleep Of Paul Delvaux


     Paul Delvaux (1897-1994) Venus Asleep 1. What Does the art
work look like? describe it. This piece of art work in my opinion looks like a
dream. The art work has a certain disoriented charm. It has mainly all dark
colors and uses these dark colors to contrast with the light skin pigment of the
people in the painting. The painting has a calm erotic nude lady sleeping on a
very formal looking couch or day bed. If the picture is read as this ladies
dream then it appears as if she were dreaming of death or something of a cult
like manner. If it is indeed death she is dreaming of then she is symbolizing
that death is very calm and relaxed, for her leg has gone limp as if she is very
relaxed as death (the skeleton) is hovering over the foot end of her bed. In the
background there are also people flying up in the sky and these people could
symbolize the dead rising to a heaven or a god, or even angels attempting to
help the dying on there way to a heaven or a god. It also seams as if the people
in this dream are in a place of worship and they are all looking up to the skies
and praying. The structures around them are very temple like, for they have many
statues and engravings about them. There is one lady in close and she is not
praying and looks very formal. This lady is looking right at the skeleton which
symbolizes death. This lady could symbolize a priest that is conversationalizing
with her god or death itself, or this lady could also symbolize a non-believer
that only examines the cult or religion and passes judgment. Another major
aspect of this painting is that it is all set at night, which only makes the
viewer believe more that the painting is set in a dream state because most
dreams occur at night when we are asleep. 2. What subject matter does the artist
work with? How is the subject matter represented: realistically, abstractly.

Paul Delvaux uses a lot of different subject matters and here is a list of them:
mythology, dreams, religion, bourgeois men, death, skeletons, large landscapes
with ruins or city views and naked woman who wander expressionlessly. But in
this painting he used a dream like atmosphere and a Greek cult like landscape to
portray his message. Initially his first works, painted in the early 1920’s,
mostly consisted of pretty post-impressionist landscapes, but later more into
the late 20’s (around 1926-1927), Paul Delvaux evolved towards a more
simplified style of Expressionism and Symbolism as these styles were seeping
into his works. In his own words Paul Delvaux explains "I wanted to find
something else, but I did not know exactly what that could be.". After this
metamorphosis Paul Delvaux converted to Expressionism. From 1935 and onward Paul

Delvaux mainly focused on surrealistic works of art. This painting is
represented in a surrealistic manner. His choice of subject-matter and his
personal style attest to his own personality. 3. What kind of technique is used
to produce the work? Include the type(s) of media that are used. Paul Delvaux
uses many techniques, but for this painting Venus Asleep Paul Delvaux used very
sharp edge images with a lot of dark shadows. He did this painting with oil on a
(173 x 200cm) canvas. He conveys his work using political media from his time
period and rearranging it to show his feelings of a subject or the reality of a
situation. Sometimes he uses unrelated media that he links together to make a
point in his own way. 4. Where was the work produced? (GeoGraphic location) Paul

Delvaux is known as a Belgian artist. Paul Delvaux initially studied
architecture, but later studied painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in

Brussels. Around 1934 Paul Delvaux withdrew from society, spending a month in
the tiny southern Belgian village of Spy filling his many sketch books with
lingering fantasies in his mind and childhood memories. From 1951 onwards Paul

Delvaux most often worked in Sint-Idesbald (Koksijde). Except in 1952 Paul

Delvaux designed murals for the casino of the Kursaal in Ostend and he also did
work in a few other places as well. The painting (Venus Asleep) was created in

Brussels in 1944. 5. When was the work done? (Dates of the artists life, working
life, name of the art period in which the work was done, dates of that period.)

Paul Delvaux was born on the 21st of March 1897 and he died on the 27th of July,
in the year of 1994. His childhood and adolescent years were important sources
of inspiration for his work, even though he wasn’t to serious about his art at
this time. The works Paul Delvaux painted in the early 1920’s, mostly
consisted of pretty post-impressionist landscapes. Paul Delvaux evolved from a
impressionist artist to a Expressionism and Symbolism artist around about

1926-1927. The church took offense at Paul Delvaux’s paintings and had them
removed from the Biennale in Venice in 1954. In 1962 a Delvaux exhibition was
held in Ostend at the Museum of Fine Art’s. In 1979 when he was still alive
the Paul Delvaux Foundation was founded. The painting I have included with my
essay (Venus Asleep) was done in Brussels on 1944 during German flying bomb
attacks on the city. This period in art history is referred to as modern art. To
celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of this Belgian artist Paul Delvaux,

The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium hosted the first major retrospective
exhibition of Paul Delvaux’s work ever to be held in Belgium. It was held on
the 27th of October 1997. 6. Was the art influenced by previous art movements?

Paul Delvaux didn’t really have many other art movements of his kind to
influence him, because he was kind of adding on to an art movement that had just
started. Although he was semi influenced by impressionism, expressionism and
surrealism art movements. His childhood and adolescents were very important
influences in Paul Delvaux’s work. In 1931-1932 Paul Delvaux discovered the

Spitzer museum at the fair in Brussels, a pseudo scientific collection of
preserved skeletons, fetuses and other macabre elements. The disgusting mystery
of it influenced his paintings. A number of years later Paul Delvaux saw work by

DeChirico, Dali and Mmagritte at the ‘Minotaure’ exhibition in the Palais
des Beaux Art’s in Brussels. Paul Delvaux took a liken to these artist’s
works and shortly afterwards he developed his own personal style with a magical
dimension loose from expressionism. "I was influenced by all those artists

I admired, but they did not satisfy me completely," Paul Delvaux once said.

7. Did this art work influence other movements of art? Though surrealist
influences are evident in the anachronistic, coldly erotic works of Paul Delvaux,
he subject matter was entirely his own. I personally think that his works were
and still are influencing the surrealistic artists to come after himself. 8.

What place in history does this work hold? - a major movement, a minor movement,
an isolated movement? Paul Delvaux’s work is a minor movement in art history
even though his work has been reflected upon up to now. His work is to isolated
to be a major movement and not isolated enough to be an isolated movement. If we
were to group Paul Delvaux along with the other artists of his kind and time
together, even though they are all a little different in there own way, they
would have enough similarities to be grouped into a major movement category. A
theory says that art does not exist alone, or in a vacuum - that it is
influenced by events in the world. What was the world like when the art work was
done? When the art works of Paul Delvaux were created the world was either
beginning a war, going to war, finishing war or after war. A very little amount
of his surrealists works were not war related in some way. On top of these
circumstances the work that he enjoyed doing was frowned upon by the church and
by society to a great extent. Paul Delvaux was not always accepted by the
public. 9. Is any particular social group represented in the art work? Paul

Delvaux doesn’t use any distinct social groups in his paintings, however
naked, erotic and sometimes helpless woman appear in almost all of his
surrealistic works. 10. Was there any type of social or political upheaval
occurring during the time period when the art was being produced? There wasn’t
really any social upheaval that I can see, but there was a distinct political
upheaval. The painting I enclosed was created while German bombers were bombing
the city were Paul Delvaux lived, the political power of Germany wanted to take
over the world and impose there values upon every one. In this painting you can
see the frustration that Paul Delvaux was feeling, as fore he left all the
people looking helpless and praying in his painting. The political side of the
world does certainly come forth in Paul Delvaux’s work. 11. Can you tell any
thing about the time period and or the world situation by viewing the art of
this period or this artist? The art of this period depicts very much so the
environment around them and the crisis the artists went through. The art works
are just like book the tell the reader what happened, except the art works go
deeper than books the art works show emotion and emerge the feelings of the
artist(s) that actually went through the trauma of this time period. 12. In the
same way that art is influenced by the states of the world, various forms of art
are influenced by one another. Is there a specific form of music, architecture
or literature that, in the same period, is characteristic of the time period?

Does it reflect the world in the same way that the visual arts of that period
do, if at all? Art reflects the artist as well as the world and the time period.

Music and poetry especially express the artist’s feelings as his/her art
work’s do. A song can be played to express emotion just as art would only with
music your using your ears to input into your brain instead of your eyes. And a
poem can also express ones feelings of the world around himself, just by the way
the writer combines different words together to create the different emotions
he/she wants to express. These other ways are just as effective of expressing
your feelings about the world around you as art is, because in any thing feeling
is how much work and thought you put into a piece of work, whether its a brush
stroke or a word with a deep meaning. 13. What information can you find about
the life of the artist(s)? Paul Delvaux lived in Belgium for most of his life.

He went to many Fine Arts Academy’s. He often left on trips to get away and to
sketch memories from his childhood and to put his fantasias into art. He lived
to be 97 years of age. 14. What was the social economic position of an artist
during the time period being researched? Paul Delvaux wasn’t very high up on
the social ladder in his time period, but nor were any other artists that
practiced the same form of art as Paul Delvaux. These artists were considered
"bad" by the church and were often banned from the churches. Society
as a whole also frowned upon these artists, because the y for the most part
followed the church. Therefore as that not many people understood these artists
or tried to understand them, so not vary many people would buy there works.

These artists were often money deprived for this reason and would paint murals
and portraits on the corners of downtown streets. 15. What kind of life did the
particular artist you are studying live? Paul Delvaux led a life of much change
and exploration of his own mind. He would often take trips to free his mind and
to make art of the memories and fantasies of his childhood and personal life.

After going through art academies he tried to develop his own style, which he
did. He spent a lot of his life observing and recording in his own way what he
sees. 16. Was the artist personally involved in any specific political or social
movement? Paul Delvaux wasn’t personally involved in political or social
events, but he was always indirectly involved in them by portraying there
images. 17. Did the artist see his her involvement in art in any particular way?

All art has some intent. The intent in Paul Delvaux’s work is that he wanted
to show people his way of viewing the world and to put across his feelings about
the emotions he felt about the occurring events in his life. 18. What was the
artist trying to show through the art which he she created? a. deal only with
abstract, element or compositional aspects of art In the painting Venus Asleep

Paul Delvaux was trying to show a dreamlike composition with an abstract
approach towards death. By using a relaxed woman and a skeleton hovering over
her, which could symbolize death coming in her sleep. Using these images Paul

Delvaux could be conveying the thought of German bombers attacking while the
citizens are calm and relaxed, not expecting the bombers, or he could be
symbolizing that the enemy is trying to be a friend to the woman while deep
inside the enemy want what’s not best for the woman. b. reflect the times
which the artist lived? As I explained in Question "a" this painting
was created when the Germans were bombing the Belgium city. So Paul Delvaux was
probably pretty emotional at the time of the paintings creation and these
emotions are showing through in this painting. c. reflect his personal view of
the world? Well, I cant really say what Paul Delvaux’s personal view is with
out asking him myself, but judging by his artwork I’d say his personal view of
the world comes out in his paintings because he most always uses dark pastel
colors in his paintings for the landscapes and backgrounds, which contrast
greatly with the bright skin color of the people in his paintings. I think this
choice of colors symbolizes how dark the world really is when people are on it
to contrast with it and exploit it. d. reflect some emotional aspect of him
herself or others? This painting Venus Asleep has many emotional parts that go
deep within this painting and expose the true quality of the images of war and
unfair death. Evaluation. 19. What do you see in the art work produced during
this period or by this artist? What message comes across? (the message need not
be sentimental or political - it may be only visual.) In the works and mostly
the painting Venus Asleep by this artist I see a deep message of pain and
uncertainty that came from a war combined with an already restless soul that
needs attention not violence. The people in the background to me symbolize the
unhappiness of many people and the dark structures symbolize a highly growing
technology of old theory’s and questions. To me this painting shows me the end
of the beginning of a pain that Paul Delvaux once suffered. 20. Is the art work
of the time or of the artist successful? Does it do what it is set out to do?

Does it convey the message that it intended? I feel that this piece of art from
its time period does what it is set out to do. It conveys the message in so many
different ways so that it can be interpreted as the viewer feeling the pain of a
past event. I think the artist is successful in what he set out in achieving,
because now over 70 years later were still talking about this painting. 21. Do
you like the artwork of your research topic? Explain. Yes, I like the art work
of my research topic, because it opens a window into something I cant normally
see. "One should forget that a painting is a painting - that is to say,
another reality" Paul Delvaux

Bibliography

Books Surrealist Painting 1975 Simon Wilson Magazines Time

April 21, 1997 VOL, 149 NO.6 The Art/Arts (A Singular Path)- Julie K.L. DAM

Internet Paul Delvaux (Retrospective Delvaux Paul 1997 in Brussels, Belgium)
http/www.geocities.com/retro/bel/happy/9897576/ Paul Delvaux (PMMK Jubilee-

Delvaux(Antheit 1897- Veurne1994)Info) http/www.PMMK.com/hiyt/0009/delvaux/expo/

Other EXPO Delvaux 1897-1994 Royal museums of fine arts belgium address 9, Ruedu
musee, 1000 Brussels fax 32.2.508.32.32 http/www.expo-delvauh.com/hist/76/09~hgy