The Sleeping Venus by Paul Delvaux

On the town with the clear moonlight, Venus fell asleep. A skeleton and a dress model were looking at her. She made her legs take apart and dreamed of the lure of death. Perhaps it was the combination of this young woman’s beauty and death, desire and terror that made this painting so disturbing. This was the symbol of the surrealist painter’s works like Paul Delvaux who often portrayed so weird but always beautiful images inspired by dreams and sub consciousness. After he tried the impressionist and expressionist painting styles, he later joined in the surrealist movement. After the Second World War, he was well-known in the popular art circle at the time of the heyday of surrealism. In 1939, he visited Italy where the roman buildings left a deep impression to him. What he was famous for was such painting technique: in front of the beautiful buildings, he usually exhibited naked and beautiful young women’s images.

The Sleeping Venus was a typical representative. The background was the ancient Greek temple-style gathering ground. It was late at night. A crescent moon could be seen at the top of the temple. The scene inside the temple made people feel dreamy: a skeleton in the middle was walking towards the woman wearing tights on the left. This woman wore a hat decorated by the red flower like a lady. She was ready to talk with the skeleton. On the right a naked woman was holding her hand to sign, like the mourning death. In the distance there were several nudes: one was crouching, one was screaming in pain, producing a scene of terror. The nude images in the foreground were begging facing the sky. The whole atmosphere implied the people’s desires. This painting obscurely expressed the ideas for love and death and showed the unchanged desire and destiny sine the ancient times. The painter had painted several variants about this theme, but this one was the most typical.

The Sleeping Venus 1944

The Sleeping Venus 1944

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