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Henri Fantin-Latour

1836 – 1903

Tannhaüser: Acte I: Venusberg by Henri Fantin-Latour

Tannhaüser: Acte I: Venusberg   1862-76

  Original lithograph.
Signed in pencil.
Ref: Hédiard 9
S 464 x 573 mm; I 410 x 503 mm
Original Fantin-Latour lithograph.

Excellent signed proof impression printed on India paper.

This lithograph, inspired by the opera Tannhaüser, is one of Fantin-Latour’s earliest Wagnerian works. The story of Tannhaüser deals with the conflict between the desire for passion of the flesh and the purity of love as seen by the Christian religion. Set in mediaeval Germany, act one (as depicted in this image) shows the Venusberg, the magical mountain abode Venus – the minstrel Tannhaüser is seen half-heartedly praising the goddess of beauty, who for more than a year has bestowed her love upon him. When Tannhaüser asks for his freedom, Venus promises even greater delights; however, when he longs for the simple pleasures and pains of earthly life she curses his hopes of salvation. In response he calls upon the Virgin Mary and the Venusberg vanishes. He falls in love with the purest of mortal women, Elisabeth, but his soul cannot break the clutches of Venus and it is only when both Elisabeth and Tannhaüser die that his soul is redeemed.

On India paper applied to original white wove backing sheet, as issued. With margins, though trimmed to the base of the pencil signature. One short repaired tear in lower margin, otherwise very fine condition.