I love this painting because of its sheer exuberance. Brilliant colors fill the every corner. The only open space (painted a beautiful ominous blue) surrounds Jupiter's body and because of this I am first drawn directly to Jupiter sitting upon his enormous throne. Then my eyes travel downward to all of the winged, angelic women, picking apart the meticulous detail and constantly discovering new figures in every inch. Finally my eyes wrap up the side columns which are covered in colorful exotic flowers. Spots of bright blue around the whole piece keep my eyes darting. I love the cramped feel of the work because I doscover something new every time I glance at it.
This piece, "Europa and the Bull," is also drawn from classical mythology. With its blurred, rapid paint strokes, this piece certainly possesses impressionist aesthetics. I love the transition across the bull from forest green to light open sky. Though not as filled with figures as the first work I presented above, this one still has exciting, intricate details that I find beautiful. I especially like the various colors apparent in the shading of the bull's neck and the way Moreau painted the ground (there are no distinguishable real shapes yet it has the texture of a forest floor).
In this painting we see Phaethon and his chariot falling from the sky. This again comes from classical mythology. The twisting dragon and the blue hues at the top of the piece are my favorite parts. The piece is full of energy.
This is piece is a Pietà that Moreau painted towards the beginning of his career. It is more dark and ominous than typical works of the same theme that I have seen, which is why it is interesting to me. The dark shadows and orange sunset help cast a dark mood.
As I mentioned earlier, Gustave Moreau made over 8,000 pieces in his lifetime. Unfortunately I cannot present them all here. I hope you will look further into the life and work of this incredible artist!
Dreamers of Decadence: Symbolist Painters of the 1890s by Julian Phillipe, translated by Robert Baldick.