I am taking a fun class called “Gender and the Horrific in Popular Culture,” which had me reading Angela Carter’s 1979 reinterpretation of the Bluebeard folk tale, The Bloody Chamber. In it, the heroine finds artworks by Gustave Moreau, Paul Gauguin, James Ensor, Félicien Rops, Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Jean-Antoine Watteau in her new husband’s home. While the paintings Carter mentions are fictional (to my knowledge), the vibe we get from these artist’s work can tell us of the fear this young, innocent girl feels towards the impending consummation of her marriage.
Félicien Rops, The Temptation of St. Anthony, 1878
Gustave Moreau, Salome Dancing Before Herod, 1876
James Ensor, Devils Trashing Angels and Archangels, 1888
Paul Gauguin, The Loss of Virginity, 1890-1891
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Bolt, c.1777
Jean-Antoine Watteau, Nymph and Satyr, 1715-1716