Paul Delvaux Sleeping Venus 1944

Artwork details

Artist
Paul Delvaux 1897–1994
Title
Sleeping Venus
La Vénus endormie
Date 1944
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1727 x 1991 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Baron Urvater 1957
Reference
T00134

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Delvaux’s work combined classical perfection with an erotic and troubling atmosphere. The sensuousness of Sleeping Venus is set against its oppressive night-time setting. Delvaux later explained that it was painted in Brussels during the German wartime occupation and while the city was being bombed. ‘The psychology of that moment was very exceptional, full of drama and anguish’, he recalled. ‘I wanted to express this anguish in the picture, contrasted with the calm of the Venus’. Though never an official Surrealist, Delvaux was associated with the Belgian group around Magritte.

August 2011

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