Books: Bring me the drawing of Salome

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The Independent Culture
Gustave Moreau (1826-1989) may have cultivated a reputation of an artistic hermit, a closeted genius, but he was in reality a prominent public figure in the Paris art world - exhibiting his work at the Salon, teaching at the Ecole des beaux-arts, and becoming a mentor to Matisse, Rouault and the schools of Symbolism and Surrealism.

His own work is that of one of the most idiosyncratic painters of the 19th century, combining myth, mysticism, history and the bizarre and the exotic. `Study after a Model for Salome', c.1878 (above), is a sketch with pen and black ink, over crayon, on paper. This profile of a walking Salome is related to Moreau's large watercolour `Salome in the Garden' as well as the pose of Raphael's 16th- century Eve in `Original Sin', in the Vatican. Moreau is believed to have worked with a live model to work out his variant on Raphael.

`Gustave Moreau: Between Epic and Dream' by Genevieve Lacambre, The Art Institute of Chicago in association with Princeton University Press, pounds 36.50