Félicien Rops and the Art of Horror
In the last instalment of art for Halloween, we look at the Belgian Symbolist.
Félicien Rops (1833-1898) was a Belgian graphic artist whose work embodies the Decadent Movement’s attitude towards art and morality. In one sense, this artist lived a conventional life. He was a master printmaker and also frequently went out to paint in the landscape. He was in demand as a caricaturist and illustrator, with his prints appearing in journals, newspapers and books. His art ranges from Social Realism to Symbolism and fin-de-siecle decadence. It is that latter field within which Rops made his art of horror.
Rops’s images frequently included nudity, even to the point of obscenity. Although these works were never widely circulated at the time, it is notable that Rops thought to make printing plates of these, rather than just leving them as drawings, suggesting he saw some potential for these works reaching an audience, albeit a select one. In this selection, I shall concentrate on the less extreme images, which can be found on his Wikipedia page here. Rops’s brilliance with the etching needle and lithographic crayon made his inventions remarkably memorable. He could bring to life his fantasies, making them all the more alluring and repellent.