An oil on canvas painted by Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson in 1808. He turned to a popular novel by Chateaubriand (Atala) for his subjetc Entombment of Atala. This painting could be a set piece for Romanticism. Atala, a young Christian girl sworn to lifelong virginity, falls passionately in love with a wild, young savage of the Carolina wilderness. Rather than break her oath, she commits suicide and is buried in the shadow of a cross by her grief-stricken lover.

By representing the Holy Church in the person of the cloaked priest, Girodet daringly puts religion and sexual passion side by side, binding them with the theme of death and burial. Hopeless love, perished beauty, the grave, the purity of primitive life, and the consolation of religion are some of the Romantic themes Girodet successfully showed in this work. The pictures composite style combines classicizing contours and modeling with a dash of erotic sweetness of the Rococo and the dramatic illumintion of the Baroque. Unlike Jacques Louis David's appeal to the feelings that manifest themselves in public action in The Oath of the Horatii the appeal here is to the viewer's private world of fantasy and emotion. If David's purpose was to electrify the soul, Girodet's was in the language of Henri Rousseau, to wring the heart. the artist speaks here to our emotions, rather than inviting philosophical medtaion or revealing some grand order of nature and form. The Romantic artist, above all else, wanted to excite the emotions of the audience.

Bibliography

Lometa. "Artists and Art in the Classroom" Tucson, Arizona.
1994. (Lecture presented at St Joseph's Catholic School.)

Justus, Kevin. "Art and Culture II." Tucson , Arizona.
1992. (Lecture presented at Pima Community College.)

De La Croix, Horst, Richard D. Tansey, and Diane Kirkpatrick.
Art Through the Ages. University of Michigan: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
1991.

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