Maenads in a Wood

”Gustave Doré (1832–1883), known primarily for his book illustrations, prints, and paintings, turned to sculpture late in his career. It was only in 1871 that he began to learn to model, and he exhibited his first sculpture at the Salon of 1877.
This plaster relief is the second version of a sculpture inspired by his 1879 painting of the Death of Orpheus. Doré used the same background and composition in both reliefs; however, here the dead Orpheus is absent and the female woodland figures are not armed. He has depicted a Bacchic dance of the Maenads, followers of Dionysus, god of the Orphic religion, who in a delirious frenzy killed Orpheus. This relief may have been intended to serve as an architectural decoration.”

Maenads in a Wood, 1879
Gustave Doré

The painting in reference and a study (the only copies I was able to trace on-line): 

Gustave Doré
Study for La mort d’Orphée, 1879
Charcoal and watercolor with gouache on thick card

Gustave Doré
La mort d’Orphée, 1885
Wash and gouache

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
May 2nd, 2017


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