The title of this precious and moody exhibition - "The Black Sun of Melancholy" - comes from El Desidechado by Gerard de Nerval, a collection of 12 romantic sonnets written by the French poet in 1845.

This symbolic, and profound poetry, resplendent with historic characters and legends from France and the Roman and Greek antiquity serves as a portal to an exhibition of drawings and lithographs by fifteen Romantic artists.

Curated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Hillard T. Goldfarb, it offers a glimpse into the dark and fascinating world of fantasy and the subconscious. Aimed to provoke "a mixture of excitement and fear" it brings together works of such great artists as Francisco de Goya, William Blake, Edward Munch and Odilon Redon, to name a few.

The Romantic Movement that gave birth to the art on display, provoked intense emotions in both the artists and the viewing public, and in this exhibition, it is the darker side that is showcased.

Hans Makart (1840-1884)
The Abduction / Death and the Maiden
About 1863
Pen and ink, ink wash, grattage, pastel (?), graphite
41.2 x 30.4 cm
MMFA, purchase, Claude Dalphond Fund in memory of Gisèle Lachance
Image(lien externe)
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)
Modo de volar A Way of Flying
From the album “Los Proverbios (or Los Disparates)”
About 1816-1823, 1st edition, 1864
Etching, aquatint
31.6 x 47.7 cm (sheet)
24.4 x 35.3 cm (platemark)
MMFA, purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest
Image(lien externe)
Edvard Munch (1863-1944)
Melancholy III
Woodcut, state III/III, unique trial proof
44.2 x 57.7 cm
MMFA, purchase, anonymous gift and the Wake Robin Fund in memory of Nelo St.B. Harrison

Image(lien externe)
From the stories of Mary Shelley, author of the 1818 novel Frankenstein, and Edgar Allan Poe, to the emergence of psychoanalysis in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the human subconscious became a popular subject for artists of the epoch.

Goya's magnificent Proverbs, the complete series of the first edition, are on view for the first time in the Museum, as are Odilon Redon's To Gustave Flaubert: The Temptation of St. Anthony.

Truly, an exhibition not to be missed, particularly by those whose spirit roams the darker side of the human soul.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts(lien externe)
"The Black Sun of Melancholy"
Monsters of the Unconscious, From Goya and Blake to Redon and Munch
1380 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal Quebec
Until December 11, 2016


Paul Gauguin (1848-1903)
Manao Tupapau (Spirit of the Dead Watches)
Lithograph, only state (proof)
32.4 x 46.8 cm (sheet)
18.1 x 26.9 cm (image)
MMFA, gift of Freda and Irwin Browns
Image(lien externe)
Charles Meryon (1821-1868)
The Gargoyle
Etching, drypoint, plate toning, state VI/X
30.1 x 24.1 cm (sheet)
17.2 x 13 cm (platemark)
MMFA, purchase, Wake Robin Fund in memory of Nelo St.B. Harrison
Image(lien externe)
Odilon Redon (1840-1916)
The Marsh Flower, a Sad, Human Head
Plate 2 from the series “Homage to Goya”
Lithograph, only state
45 x 31.5 cm (sheet)
27.6 x 20.6 cm (image)
MMFA, gift in memory of Isaac Battat, in honour of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ 150th anniversary

Image(lien externe)