— Rodin & Baudelaire

Illustrations for Charles Baudelaire’s ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’, 1887-88


Pen and brown ink, brown ink wash, on pages from a copy of the original edition of ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ (Paris, Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1857)


This copy of the original edition of 1857 belonged to the book lover and publisher Paul Gallimard. The architect and art critic Frantz Jourdain used his influence to obtain the commission to illustrate it for Rodin. The brown leather binding was made by Henri Marius Michel. Represented in demi-relief on the front cover, in incised, mosaiced leather, is an ivory skull on a dark green thistle plant.


Rodin, whose fondness for poetry and Baudelaire is well known,worked on this project for barely four months, in late 1887 and early 1888. His line drawings, sometimes heavily shaded, with hatched backgrounds and five washes on Japan paper, heavy with ink and gouache, would subsequently be inserted into the pages.


Specially designed for the book or inspired by earlier sketches made for The Gates of Hell, these drawings appeared on the frontispiece and occasionally invaded the poems.


Via: Wild Monkey Scream

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