Phaedra, Alexandre Cabanel


audacious experiments in contrasts, the opposition of the pure and delicate tint and texture of flesh to the blazing and gaudy colors of an Oriental umbrella and robe. Morot is a son-in-law of the great painter J.L. Gerome.

The story of Phaedra is one of the gloomiest tragedies of Greek legend. She was the daughter of Minos, King of Crete, and Pasiphae, the sister of Ariadne and the second wife of Thesus. She had a stepson, Hippolytus by name. He failed in paying due homage and worship to Venus, and the goddess, in revenge, resolved on his destruction. To begin with, she inspired his stepmother with an intense and unnatural passion for him, which led her to make advances which the youth indignantly rejected. Phaedra than accused Hippolytus to his father, and Theseus, his jealousy aroused, demanded his life from Neptune. Accordingly, Hippolytus was thrown from his chariot while driving on the seashore, and dragged along the sands till he was dead. The artist shows the unhappy woman, tormented by the memory of her crime, watched over in her chamber by her anxious and weary attendants. It was in this scene of Racine's tragedy that the famous French actress, Rachel, achieved her most magnificent tragic success upon the stage, and in it Mme. Sarah Bernhardt reaches the apex of her art.

Alexandre Cabanel, who died in 1889, was born at Montpellier in 1823. He began painting as a pupil of Picot, in the old classical manner, but soon adopted a more modern and natural style of his own. After carrying off the Prix de Rome in 1845, he took medal after medal, was made an Officer of the Legion of Honor

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Alexandre Cabanel

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