This rare lithograph titled ‘Sérénité’ by Louis Huvey, after a work by Edgar Maxence (1871-1954), a French Symbolist painter, exemplifies the distinct aesthetic of Symbolism that was prevalent at the turn of the 20th century. Maxence’s work often focused on the ethereal and mystical, blending traditional religious iconography with a more contemporary, stylized approach.
In ‘Sérénité’, the subject is portrayed with a sense of divine calmness, her eyes closed in prayer or meditation, evoking a spiritual experience that transcends the mundane world. The intricate lace headpiece and the finely detailed fur cloak suggest a status of nobility or sanctity, reminiscent of the figures of saints and noblewomen from the medieval era, a period often romanticized by Symbolist artists.
A deep sense of inner peace and stillness
Huvey’s lithography faithfully captures the serene and contemplative mood of Maxence’s original painting. The rich textures and contrasts between the dark and light areas are rendered with great skill, allowing the image to convey a deep sense of inner peace and stillness. The background, with its subtle patterns and dark tones, complements the figure without overshadowing her, ensuring that the focus remains on the subject’s expression and posture.
The lithograph technique, which allows for the creation of soft shades and delicate lines, is particularly suited to conveying the Symbolist ethos, where the mood and atmosphere are as important as the subject itself. The choice of monochromatic tones, typical for lithographs, enhances the timeless quality of the image.
The lithographic detail below the main image, depicting a knight, showcases the artist’s skill in the use of line to define form and convey character. The knight is rendered with a stately presence, his gaze directed upward, suggesting a moment of contemplation or resolve. His features are marked by lines that suggest both the strength and weariness that come with the archetype of a battle-worn knight.
The armor is indicated with just enough detail to give a sense of its form and texture without overwhelming the figure. This economy of line is a hallmark of skilled lithography, where each stroke must be deliberate and meaningful.
The Symbolist movement
‘Sérénité’ stands as a testament to the Symbolist movement’s enduring influence on art, capturing the essence of its pursuit of the spiritual and the sublime. It reflects a period where artists sought to express the ineffable qualities of human experience, and through Huvey’s craftsmanship, this vision is preserved and communicated with grace and subtlety.
Antique handmade frame
For this piece of art we have selected an antique handmade frame and as standard in our Gallery, this is framed with special anti-reflective and virtually invisible glass (up to 70% UV protection).
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