Saturday, 26 May 2012

Constance Mayer and The Dream of Happiness

'The Dream of Happiness' (1819) by Constance Mayer; Musée du Louvre, Paris

Today I was struggling to find something to my liking and then stumbled upon French painter Constance Mayer, who was born in 1775 and died on 26 May 1821. Her name is linked to the name of Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, whose pupil she became and with whom she became romantically involved. He was married but his wife was declared insane and committed to an asylum. I just found a recent post on their tragic affair on another blog so if you're interested, please click here. Today's painting of 'The Dream of Happiness' has a romantic mood, which was popular in the early 19th century. I think it's beautiful in colour and lighting. It's painted in a more abstract style, something Mayer started to do after having used the same style as Prud'hon for many years. The painting shows a married couple and their child drifting in a boat down the River of Life. Mayer dreamt of having a family of her own but never had one. When Prud'hon's wife died, he promised her on her deathbed never to remarry. In despair Mayer slit her throat with Prud'hon's razor. Overcome by grief, he sank into a depression and died only two years later. They were buried in the same tomb in Paris. For further reading, click here. I will give you the Wikipedia page on Mayer in German because it's not available in English.

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