The Suitors

A Pile of Dead Younng Men (detail from "The Suitors") by Gustave Moreau. Begun 1852 or 1853. Oil on canvas, 11 feet 5 inches x 12 feet 5 1/2 inches. Musée Gustave-Moreau, Paris. According to Jean Clay,

Moreau pivoted the axis of his main event some 45 degrees so that the action — the confrontation of the hero and the suitors — occurs not parallel to the painting surface (as, for example, in the friezelike disposition favored by David), but perpendicular to it. Moreover, the staging of the scene required, just as the cinema frequently would, that the motor force of the action (Ulysses) appear not in the foreground — or even in the title — but at considerable remove, there almost absorbed by the architectural setting. (Nor does the position of the central character coincide with the center of the perspective, whose lines converge at the foot of the radiant figure of Minerva [Athena].)'" [p. 312]

Other views


Clay, Jean. Romanticism. Trans. Daniel Wheeler and Craig Owen. Seacaucus, N. J.: Chartwell books, 1981 [Orginally published by Hachette in Paris the previous year].

Kaplan, Julius. Gustave Moreau. Exhibition catalogue. Greenwich, Connecticut: New York Graphic Society, 1974.

Paladilhe, Jean, and José Pierre. Gustave Moreau. Trans. Bettina Wadia. New York: Praeger, 1972.

Aesthetes & Decadents paintings Gustave Moreau

Last modified 0 April 2008