Sunday, December 5, 2010

Burial of Atala, Girodet-Trioson

Inspired by the novel entitled Atala, this painting depicts the burial of the title character. She was a woman who was supposed to become a nun, but became attracted to a Native American--the man hugging her legs. Rather than succumb to lust and passion, she poisoned herself and the above painting shows her burial. Despite Atala's pure intentions, Girodet-Trioson portrays her in an almost seducing manner, with sheer fabric over her breast and the contours of her body easily visible. The cross in the background of the painting and the story the painting was inspired by speak to the loftiness of spiritual piety and aligns Atala's struggle that ended in death with the struggle of Christ. The prevalence of light within such a sad picture could be taken as a condoning of her actions or a sign of her hopeful resurrection, just like Christ. 

Although the whole suicide issue sure throws a wrench in the reasoning of this moral Christian painting...

1 comment:

  1. I am about to visit the Louvre for the first time. In my research, I came across this painting and fell in love. I'm not an art buff, but this painting brings tears to my eyes. Knowing the story behind it makes it that much more poignant.