Friday, July 10, 2015

Arty Farty Friday ~ Félicien Rops, Decadent & Sun Cancerian.

Félicien Rops - a new one on me! He was one of the artists of the Decadent Movement which took place, mainly in France, around the turn of the 19th century, a period more elegantly termed as "fin de siècle".

Decadents: writers, poets, painters who rejected a current trend towards realism, favouring instead the more Romantic association of irrationalism. Sister movements contemporary with the Decadents were the Symbolists and the Aesthetes. Stripping away arty jargon, the Decadents were something akin to the Punks in more recent times - anti-establishment, pro- individual freedom an' all that, with an added "Goth" element of satanic darkness. Associated with the Decadents, possibly more familiar than Rops' name were: Charles Baudelaire, Aubrey Beardsley (and here); Guy de Maupassant, Edvard Munch, Gustave Moreau, Algernon Swinburne, Oscar Wilde (archived posts, where available, are linked to the names). The Decadent Movement came to an end during the first decade of the 20th century, with some Art Nouveau carrying forward a few lingering traces of it.

In art, the art of Félicien Rops for example, Decadence equals serious eroticism, sex with satanic elements, dark surrealism. His association with Baudelaire brought Rops further into the public spotlight than might otherwise have been the case - though as a fine artist, illustrator and print maker he was no slouch.
Many of Rops’s etchings are erotic or pornographic in tone and depict an imaginary underworld or subjects of social decadence. Despite his peculiarities, Rops was a printmaker of brilliant technique and original content whose handling of dry point (etching directly on the plate) marks him as one of the masters of the medium. He was also one of the first modern etchers to revive the neglected medium of soft-ground etching, in which the etching ground is melted into and mixed with tallow, producing the effect of lines drawn with a soft pencil or chalk.
See - here.
".....Rops drew priapic devils, horny priests, and an obscenely self-pleasuring St. Thérèse, but the center of his cosmos was taken up by repetitions of the femme fatale: fleshy, imperious, invariably nude, a dominating subject radiating perversity or a dominated object broken down, often on or at the foot of the cross. Unsurprisingly, the Decadent author J.K. Huysmans was a Rops fan, writing that he “celebrated the spirituality of lust which is Satanism...............
........Banished from the canon of Symbolist art for his unredeemable cheese, Rops remains potent because of illustrative craft, a flair for the cartoon line of evocative caricature that looks, from this far distance, rather charming, if not innocent..."

Félicien Rops was born in Namur, Belgium on 7 July 1833, died in 1898. He spent most of his life in Paris, France. gives his time of birth as 8:30 AM with an excellent "AA" rating.

From typical lists of keywords for the zodiac signs, one wouldn't immediately expect to find "decadence" under Cancer. But then, I didn't expect to find "boxing" under Cancer either, until I gave the matter more than a passing thought.

Cancer, the sign, does have the basic "soil" where decadence might grow, I guess - the emotional pull from its Watery element and its ruler, the Moon. Without some augmented input from other planets and signs, and/or environmental impact, that soil would remain...well, just soil. Rops' natal Moon in Pisces augmented the Watery emotional pull of his Cancer Sun. Venus, planet of the arts, at 00 Gemini almost on the midheaven cusp reflects his pull to the world of art. For added decadence I guess Pluto or Scorpio input might be expected. No Scorpio planets, but Pluto in Aries challenges his Cancer Sun via a square aspect, maybe that antagonising square converts the otherwise soft and sentimental Cancer into a darker emotional mode? Overall, though, I'm seeing "the time in which he lived" as having major influence on his choice of art style.

I looked at an astrological ephemeris for a year in the midst of his life span - around 1870. At that point the slow-moving outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were transiting in the middle degrees of Cancer, Aries and Taurus respectively, forming square and semi-sextile angles to each other. Interestingly, Uranus in Cancer would have conjoined Rops' Cancer Sun at points around that time, adding some unexpectedly novel ideas to his arty mix. Pluto (usual culprit for input of eroticism and/or darkness) around the same time, during Rops' mid 30s, formed a semi-sextile from Taurus to his Cancer Sun. Those could be points in time which could well have either initiated or solidified his choice of subject matter. Rapidly germinating seeds delivered into Rops' moist Cancer/Pisces-led soil?


mike said...

Rops was born on the heels of The Enlightenment period of the 1700s. Intellectualism and nature were favored, religion was less associated with state and politics, and science-reason-experience overthrew the dogma of traditional values. Much change occurred simply due to the printing press and the popularity of widely distributed information. The European revolutions of 1830 and 1848 were periods offering social upheaval from the bourgeois, with proletarians demanding a voice as the industrial age changed the role of serfdom. An era of modernization, with individuals seeking relief and responsibility for their own lives. I've always been fascinated with the 1800s, as so much changed so very quickly, yet the natural environment was relatively in tact and just beginning its downward spiral. The 1800s was a century of hope and romanticism, but founded on brutal changes.

That said, Rops' erotic, pornographic art was fitting for the period and Rops' was known as a satirist, thumbing his nose at convention. I agree with your assessment that it's the time in which he lived that influenced him, but there has to be something in his astrology. He does have Pluto in the 8th house (Scorpio's natural house), but that alone does not create a pornographer...LOL...maybe one with a fixation on sex, though. indicates that Mars opposed to Uranus is very sexually charged and a sexual revolutionary: "Whatever the case, sexual rebellion and reformation is very strong here." ( ) The first pornographic daguerreotype was 1848, making Rop's artistic renditions a bit ersatz, and probably influenced his style, as he would have been a teenager at that time.

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of this man either. I've been flitting about reading about his various planetary placements and their aspects, and only then read his Wiki entry where it is stated quite matter of factly that he and his sister had a daughter together. Definitely more to him than meets the eye.

I don't know if you've done a piece on Egon Schiele but he is another sex-minded artist of the decadent period. Curiouser and curiouser.

Anonymous said...

From the Interwebs ...


Rops suffocates in Belgium and from several months a year in Paris where he meets two young milliners Aurélie (16 years) and Leontine Duluc (19), who will share his life until his death.They sign the letters of their shared love Félicien by the Joint Auréléon name. In 1872, Leontine Duluc (25) gave birth to Claire, who married the Belgian writer Eugène Demolder in 1895.Claire will die in 1944.

]... (google translate)

... they were not "his" sisters.
... the ménage à trois lasted until the end of his life.

It is interesting that the Neptune/Pluto cjn was at 7-ish Gemini.
So both pl and np would have rolled over his venus in quick succession.
Also that jp in ta is the midpoint of the me opp np t-square.
...(jp bringing success to me/np)

I find this a very interesting time ...


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification: mea culpa for trusting Wiki.

mike (again) said...

Sabina, Wiki has it correct, too. I made the same mistake upon my first Wiki brain was ready to assign sexual perversion...LOL. I had to re-read the sentence a couple more times.

"After the failure of his marriage, Rops moved to Paris in 1874 where he lived with two sisters, Aurélie and Léontine Duluc. With Léontine, he had one daughter, Claire, who went on to marry the Belgian author Eugène Demolder."

Twilight said...

mike +(again), Sabina and Anon/kidd ~

Thanks for this conversation y'all - it's of much interest to me. :-)
We've been out all day in Ardmore, down the road a ways. I wanted to rest an aching right shoulder, arm and wrist for a bit, away from keyboarding (possibly the humidity isn't helping); so we took the opportunity of a wee day trip while rains ans storms are out of the way.

Rops did lead an unusual lifestyle - very arty-farty! I like all of that 19th century period, but do prefer the art of Aubrey Beardley among the erotic variety; and all of art nouveau and later, all of art deco. I'd love to time travel back to then just to look at things! Anyone want to join me? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes ... working the Net is difficult ...

"I find this a very interesting time ...", should be
"I found THAT a very interesting time ..."


I wonder
Now we have ... Pluto in Cap, Uranus in Aries and Neptune in Pisces

So are WE all ...
1) strangely stodgy/logical/realistic?
2) yet personally rebellious and awaiting the call?
3) and strongly idealistic?

In 1833 it was ... Pluto in Aries, Uranus in Aquarius and Neptune in Cap

Would THEY all ...
1) feel a compulsive "doing" urge?
2) be curiously inventive (remember 1994-2004?)
3) be wistfully political?


And the Neptune/Pluto thing ... 1887-1895 ish
-strangely addicted to pluto in a gemini way?

-art nouveau, monet etc
-tesla's electric motor - radio waves are related to light waves
-wireless telegraph, internal combustion engine
-ford, benz build their first cars


Twilight said...

Anon/kidd ~ Sounds good to me! Especially the Neptune/Pluto thing. :-)

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'll def come along: I too adore Art Nouveau and Deco. As for the arts, those were the days: simply amazing how much was going on in literature, theatre, etcetc. Very interesting to read Maugham's autobiographical bits as his life spanned an amazing period. Yes, me too for Beardsley. I'd also love to invite Oscar to my imaginary perfect supper party: been mad for the boy since I was six or seven and have read just about everything and anything by and about him.

kidd, have you read 'Cosmo and Psyche'? I wish I had my own copy to mark up as it would be interesting to compare the eras outlined with those of our own lifetimes.

Yes, Mike, reading too fast.... Uranus opposing n Mercury ;P

Twilight said...

Sabina ~ Oh good! All we need now is the conveyance! :-) We'll probably have to borrow H.G. Wells' machine....oh, and can we have him along to the supper party too?

(Cosmo & Psyche sounds interesting - I'll watch for a used edition going cheap!)

Anonymous said...

Yes Sabina ...
Cosmos & Psyche is in my collection.

Marjorie Orr's "The Astrological History Of The World", is also good. (20th century)
"The Outline of History" by Wells, or any chron by James Trager, David Wallechinsky.

... I find Reading time-travel SF can help set the mood ...

"I'll take Victor Horta for $200, Alex" ...


Anonymous said...

kidd -

No thanks on Wells due to charges of likely plagiarism, me being a capital F Feminist and sometime Canadian.

Interestingly, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, which I recently read brought to mind the astro cycles; although, of course, the author could find no such peg to hang his patterned hat of observations upon.

Time travel, yes. SF time travel so much the better. The entire concept of Time itself.... I love how it screws with the mind. My Jupiter cj Uranus in the 10th mebbe.