Gustave Moreau

1826 - 1898

Place Born


Place Died



Moreau produced small highly finished paintings, like ours, throughout his career, perhaps in part due to his obsession with enameling, an art he fervently admired though never endeavored. Despite the drama and extravagance of his large-scale works, he met, on occasion, with more success when commanding the polished surface of these smaller panels, a task to which he dedicated considerable time and effort. He was deeply interested in the Italian Renaissance, and he paid tributes to, not only Botticelli, but to Leonardo and Michelangelo, in large and small works alike. The figure of the 1865 Orpheus is based loosely on one appearing on the Sistine Chapel, while the musician’s head is based on that of Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, which Moreau saw in the Louvre. In Moreau’s Hesiod and the Muse (Paris, Musée Gustave Moreau), one may discern several Leonardesque references. Conceivably to indicate the connection between the two paintings, Venus, in our painting, and poet, in the above picture, stand positioned similarly, seen from the right, in three-quarter view and profile respectively.

Art Works Sold

The Birth of Venus (Venus appearing to the Fishermen)

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Historical Period: 1810-1870 Romanticism
The Birth of Venus (Venus appearing to the Fishermen)