Monsters in art


Frontispiece for Goethe’s Faust (c. 1843) by Eugène Delacroix.

Or a couple of pages from Les monstres dans l’art; êtres humains et animaux bas-reliefs, rinceaux, fleurons, etc., a study of aesthetic teratogenesis by Edmond Valton from 1905. The Delacroix frontispiece gives a better view than the one at the Davison Art Center but they have more of the Faust lithographs. Emmanuel Frémiet’s animals were created to adorn the restored medieval Château de Pierrefonds for Napoleon III. The artist had smaller ceramic copies of the statues made later, of which the lizard is an improvement on the stone version.


Fantastic animals (c. 1870) by Emmanuel Frémiet.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The House with Chimaeras
Frémiet’s Lizard

Angels 2: The angels of Paris

Los Angeles, despite being the City of Angels, has few angels on display outside its cemeteries, whereas European cities are full of them. These are some of the ones that caught my attention in Paris this year.


Saint Michael (1860) by Francisque-Joseph Duret in the Place Saint-Michel.


More statues of Saint Michael. The one on the left is by Emmanuel Frémiet (1897), in the Musée D’Orsay. On the right is a detail from the roof of the Sacre Coeur.

Continue reading “Angels 2: The angels of Paris”

Frémiet’s Lizard


Emmanuel Frémiet (1824–1910) is chiefly known for his rather prosaic sculptures of animals, some of which are still sold in reproduction today. He also produced a notorious piece in 1887 entitled Gorilla Carrying off a Woman, a precursor of King Kong and all the other rampaging apes of later pulp fiction.

His Lizard ceramic (also 1887) is untypical which is a shame, I’d liked to have seen more in this style. It reminds me of the similarly stylised winged lion on the wonderful cover of Wolf City by Amon Düül II.