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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Announcement: Going away.

Posted on 2008.04.30 at 12:42
Tags: , , ,

Morpheus and Iris by Guérin, teaser crop

~ Detail from “Morpheus and Iris” by Pierre-Narcisse Guerin (1774-1833).

Warning: Nudity. Full painting, while not racy, shows nude young man and bare-breasted woman. You be the judge. Photobucket would *definitely* take this down, since they took down Bouguereau's "Cupid and Psyche" and Michelangelo's "David". *rolleyes* I posted these images on Scrapbook.

Going away….

On Thursday I will be going away for two weeks to visit my mother and brother. She has no internet, so I will be not much online, snatching opportunities during the occasional trip to the public library.

As a farewell gift to my art fans out there, I’m posting Pierre-Narcisse Guerin’s 1811 *confection* of a painting, “Morpheus and Iris”. At my old Frodo hang-out at Khazad-dûm we thought of this as the swooners' icon. Who needed to make an Art Travesty out of it, I asked back then? It was a great Frodo art manip just as it was.

Fellow Frodo-fans mariole, elasg, aussiepeach and ellinestel actually saw “Morpheus and Iris” in person in St. Petersburg. The painting is approximately 6’ wide and 8’ high, more than life-size. I think I would have *swooned* on the spot. Judging from a shot the fans posted of themselves sighing before the painting where it hangs in the Hermitage, the whole of Morpheus is conveniently at eye-level.

Guérin seemed to have practiced for this painting, producing a nearly identical composition for his 1810 “Aurora and Cephalus” (see image below), but I much prefer the way he treated the subject in his “Morpheus and Iris”. What a delicious painting! Such colours! I am only sorry that the large image I made from a scan does not have the colours of the much small version available on the Hermitage’s website (also shown below). The colours are more pastel, less golden than the version I scanned, which appeared as an illustration in a book on mythology. I’ve tried fiddling with the colour levels to get a better match, but, alas. The large scan will just have to remain more golden.

~ Mechtild

“Morpheus and Iris” by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin, 1811, slightly cropped. From a scan of a library book:

Morpheus and Iris by Guérin, at the Hermitage, 1811, slightly cropped large image

Here’s a copy of the painting as it appears on the Hermitage Museum’s website. How I wish it were larger! Note the top and bottom areas, which were cropped off in the library book's illustration:

Morpheus and Iris by Guérin, at the Hermitage, 1811, full painting


Prompted by Mews' comment below, I decided to look up the myth of Iris and Morpheus. In Ovid, apparently Isis, the goddess of the Rainbow, was sent as a messenger by Hera (queen of the gods and wife of Jupiter) to the god of Sleep, Hypnos, to arrange for a revelatory dream to be sent to the wife of a hero who had drowned at sea. In Ovid's account, it sounds a bit like the scene painted, but the one of Aurora and Cephalus! In Ovid's story, Iris pushes aside veils of dreams in order to speak to the sleeping god (which looks like what is happening in the paintings below), but the god is Hypnos, Sleep, not Morpheus, Sleep's son.

Morpheus was one of Sleep's countless sons, all gods of Dreams. Morpheus, it seemed, was especially gifted at portraying the human form in dreams, assuming any human shape or form ("morph"). So, he went as requested to appear to the wife as the drowned husband, white and dripping with sea water, thus letting her know what had happened.

In the actual painting "Morpheus and Iris", it does appear that a black drape is being pushed back, but a solid drape, not a "veil". And an angel is doing it, not Iris herself (well, what is staff for?).

In the myth of Aurora and Cephalus, Cephalus is a beautiful young hero in love with sports, married happily to Procris, the daughter of a king. Aurora (the goddess of the Dawn) sees him out hunting (a true hunter, he goes out before dawn) and falls in love with him. She carries him off, keeping him an unwilling prisoner. She let him go, but later, set up by the gods, he unwittingly kills his own beloved wife. As far as I can see, the picture that Guérin painted to illustrate this myth had nothing to do with it, but was merely a reworking of his painting for Morpheus and Iris.

Here is Guérin’s 1810 “Aurora and Cephalus” (at the Louvre), with nearly the same composition, painted the year before. It’s another very large picture, about 6 x 8 feet. Morpheus (see directly above), painted a year later, is a longer, slimmer youth than the Cephalus shown below. Perhaps Guérin got complaints from viewers that Cephalus was a little too zaftig.

Aurora and Cephalus by Guérin, at the Louvre, 1810

Here is the “Aurora and Cephalus” Guérin painted a year later, in 1811. It’s at the Hermitage. It is quite different, I think, perhaps to distinguish it from the 1811 “Morpheus and Iris”. I think I prefer this “Aurora and Cephalus” to the 1810 version posted directly above. It has a sort of ‘story book’ quality to it, as if it were an illustration rather than a painting. I love the radiant light in the 1810 version, but this one has a more natural look to its lighting, the stars winking in the black sky. And in this one, Aurora looks more like a fairy than a pin-up. I love the way the angel or cherub is used, helping to bear up the sleeping Cephalus. And the Austin Powers device of letting the angel’s mop of curls mask the young man’s pubic area is a charmingly clever way to make the image more PG-13.

I wonder for whom this was painted? Checking its dimensions, it’s only about 10 x 14 inches in size, oil on a wood panel. Perhaps it was a small practice painting for a commission, another huge piece, that was never done?

Aurora and Cephalus by Guérin, at the Hermitage, 1811

~ Mechtild


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wakerobin at 2008-04-30 18:17 (UTC) (Link)
Lovely, lovely... Didja notice, in the last, small painting, lower left side - almost looks like ole' Morph either has hobbit feet or is wearing black Chucks! Heh. I remember reading at a photographer's site that they'd love to shoot Lij/Fro nude, because he's so pale with the only color on him his hair, eyes and mouth. Sigh....
mechtild at 2008-04-30 18:58 (UTC) (Link)
That's *great* about the feet in those sandles, Wakerobin! No, I didn't notice. Perfect! Well, you can tell Guerin would have thought film Frodo was a g-r-r-r-r-e-a-t model. Kind of skinny for his tastes, but if he can slim them down, he can fatten them up.
gilli_ann at 2008-04-30 18:38 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, these bring back fond memories of the glory days of the Harem! First time both the Morpheus and the Cephalus were posted, the ladies' eyes were big as saucers and the swooning was mighty to behold! :-D

Have a safe and happy journey there and back again, and I do hope everything is as well as can possibly be expected with your mother!
maeglian at 2008-04-30 18:39 (UTC) (Link)
Ooops! That was me. Though you probably understood that! :-)
shirebound at 2008-04-30 18:50 (UTC) (Link)
Safe trip!
mechtild at 2008-04-30 19:03 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Shirebound. :)
(Deleted comment)
mechtild at 2008-04-30 21:09 (UTC) (Link)
I love the colors in the picture showing the painting on the Heritage's website. They're so delicate and light-filled.

Yes, I wish I could get a large version of that. We don't have the biggest library in the world, but I'm thinking of seeing if there's a book of the work of Guerin available through interlibrary loan. The state university's libraries are included, which are bound to have loads of art books. Then I could, perhaps, get a better print to scan. Woo hoo!

I'd have a difficult time choosing between the two paintings of Aurora and Cephalus. Perhaps it's all the blue in the first one that appeals to me, and the radiance of the figure of Cephalus. The second one does look like an illustration, and I do like Aurora better in that one.

The 1810 does have a gorgeous moonstruck look, as if she's dropping fairy dust down on him and casting him into an enchantment. But she's holding strands of vine or something, not fairy dust, and the light source is actually above her, and a little behind, since it's also illuminating the top of her head, and the tops of her arms and breasts. The lighting is the same, source-wise, in the 1811, but it's a different colour and not so glowing. Maybe that star visible between her hands is supposed to be the light source?

In both paintings it seems that the backs of her hands are lifting a veil back, which looks very neat. Is it supposed to be the "veil of night"? -- lifted back so that the beautiful youth can be illuminated by the moon high overhead? I haven't read this myth, so I don't know. When I do manips, I research the paintings and stories behind them. I just sort of slapped these up, relatively speaking.

Edited at 2008-04-30 09:11 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
The One Mari
marigold6 at 2008-04-30 19:58 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for the pretty pics, dear [I like the 1810 Guerin the best]. And have a safe trip and good visit with your mom and bro.
mechtild at 2008-04-30 21:01 (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome, Marigold, and thanks for the good wishes.
melyanna_65 at 2008-04-30 21:45 (UTC) (Link)
Enjoy your visit to your mother and brother, dear!

Those paintings are fantastic. There's really no need to manipulate them, I immediately thought about Frodo when I saw them!

See you soon!

mechtild at 2008-04-30 22:40 (UTC) (Link)
There's really no need to manipulate them, I immediately thought about Frodo when I saw them!

Exactly! Why be redundant? ;)
aliensouldream at 2008-04-30 21:46 (UTC) (Link)
What beautiful gifts! I didn't know you were in Frodo's Harem - I caught the last of it just before it disappeared last year. Some of the stories made me cry, they were so moving. I wish you a happy peaceful visit.
mechtild at 2008-04-30 22:38 (UTC) (Link)
I only arrived at the Frodo's Harem thread on K-D near its end, AlienSoulDream, after RotK had been released. It was the spring or perhaps the summer of 2004. Even though many of the famous people of the Harem had left by then (it had started at a previous messageboard, back before FotR was even released), I had a stupendous time posting there until, at last, it faded away. I think my last post there was in 2006. Later the whole of Khazad-dûm was taken down. Did you have a different name there? I was "Mechtild" there. There were so many good posters--with lots of humour, lots of swoon and spice, and lots of deeper discussion.

Or are you speaking of the fanfiction archive associated with it (with the same name), featuring Frodo-centric fanfiction written by members of that messageboard community? If so, that's still up, I believe, although it hasn't been updated recently.

Or, perhaps you are thinking of Frodo's Kitchen, a fabulous Frodo-centric thread at the TolkienOnline messagboard (aka TORC, not TORN), with great discussions but no obvious swooning allowed. I got in just at the end of that, too, although it folded earlier than Frodo's Harem. It sure was tremendous while it was going. Some of the posts there were brilliant, and so much of it *full* of passion for the story, the character, Tolkien, the film, and the whole thing.

Edited at 2008-04-30 10:38 pm (UTC)
lame_pegasus at 2008-04-30 22:35 (UTC) (Link)
Have a blissful and safe trip, dear!
mechtild at 2008-04-30 22:39 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Simone!
maewyn_2 at 2008-04-30 23:17 (UTC) (Link)
Have a safe trip!

I think you're doing the right thing going to see your Mum by yourself before "the crush" of a family reunion. I know from personal experience that you should savour every moment that you have with her.
mechtild at 2008-04-30 23:31 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for dropping in, Maewyn. Yes, because my mother hears very poorly, I know the reunion will probably be as much a trial as a pleasure for her. A room for of people all talking at once means not understanding a thing, as much as she'd like to.
frolijah_fan_54 at 2008-05-01 00:01 (UTC) (Link)
Those are all beautiful - I think the second one (Aurora and Cephalus) is my favorite - just something about the colors and the pose.

Have a wonderful time with your family and safe travels!!
mechtild at 2008-05-01 01:14 (UTC) (Link)
The lighting is *wonderful*. Thanks for the kind wishes!
aussiepeach at 2008-05-01 00:37 (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I was there at St Pete's too you know! *pouts*


Ah, that pic. I made it into a cover for 'Frogue'.
Have a fab time away!
mechtild at 2008-05-01 01:09 (UTC) (Link)
Were you? *slaps head* Well, of course! SOMEONE had to have taken the picture! I'll go up there and add your name right away, Peachy. FORGIVE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!1
magpie_2 at 2008-05-01 03:15 (UTC) (Link)
hee, now imagine if I had seen that painting on my trip mechtild :) fans self*

I have to say I like the first one for fannish reasons, the Morpheus looks more human to me (in a Frolijah sense)

mechtild at 2008-05-01 03:28 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I think he's extra Frodo-ish, Cat. What a face, and look at those bonny cheeks and lips! Those dark, shiny curls! That luscious smooth skin! Yessss......

But just as a picture, I think I like the little one at the bottom the best. I do like its "classic book of myths and legends" look very much. Morpheus is the least Frodo-looking in that one, but his colouring is right. And, as was pointed out in a comment above, the feet inside his sandles even appear to be hairy! It's a useless illustration of Aurora and Cephalus, now that I've read the myth's story. I think it was mis-named, and is actually yet another version of Morpheus and Iris.

You say you wished you'd seen this painting (in St. Petersburg) on your trip. Do you meant you got to go to Russia, too, sometime?

Edited at 2008-05-01 03:29 am (UTC)
magpie_2 at 2008-05-01 03:18 (UTC) (Link)
and I forgot to say have a safe trip and enjoy your visit with mom! :)
mechtild at 2008-05-13 18:36 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, Cat! I just got back and am sorting through the piled up "stuff".
frodosweetstuff at 2008-05-05 13:30 (UTC) (Link)
Awwww, thank you for the swoon pics!!! :) Indeed, perfect Frodos!! :)

And I hope you will have a good time while you are away. Am looking forward to your return! *hugs*
mechtild at 2008-05-13 18:37 (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I am now back, but buried with lists of things to take care of now that I'm home. I hope to post something or other this week.
Estë   (or ST for short)
este_tangletoes at 2008-05-10 19:13 (UTC) (Link)
Please excuse my tardiness in wishing you a safe journey and a delightful time with your Mum.

This is a lovely post, Mechling. I remember with great fondness the Morpheus and Iris, 1811, posted at the Harem. The Frodo’s-Harem experience was undoubtedly, for me, a once in a lifetime event. I would not have missed it for the World. Something to look back on with much pleasure.

Wishing you a safe journey home.

mechtild at 2008-05-13 18:45 (UTC) (Link)
Hi, Este! I returned last night and am in the process of getting a lot of stuff done: things to go through, appointments to be met and made, birthdays celebrated, etc.

The Frodo’s-Harem experience was undoubtedly, for me, a once in a lifetime event.

Boy, is that true. The time I spent posting about LotR, heatedly and excitedly, in the movies and books forums at Tolkien Online (TORC) was truly engrossing, and it really stretched my mind and revived my discussion skilles. But my experience in the world of Frodo swoon--at TORC but especially at K-D in Frodo's Harem--was one of unique delight. There was such froth and fun to it, along with the deeper thinking, which was not there on the much more grave and serious film-and-book-discussion threads where no swooning was allowed. I felt as if I were in a sort of enchanted sisterhood that talked and talked, day and night, serious moments interspersed with cat-calls and giggle-fits. I've never been involved similarly with a group of women. I adored it.
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