The German symbolist painter Carlos Schwabe (1866–1926) spent most of his professional life in Paris. He composed illustrations for the works of authors Émile Zola and Charles Baudelaire and had notable Rosicrucian sympathies. Taking up such symbolist motifs as death, beauty, mythology and the monstrous, he apparently modeled the angel in his “The Death of the Grave-Digger” after his own wife.
La Vague, 1907.
La mort du fossoyeur, The Death of the Grave-Digger, 1895.
Félicien Rops (1833-1898) was a Belgian artist and printmaker famous for his risque works and dark, satanic depictions. It should come as no surprise then to learn that he was an acquaintance and disciple of the French decadent poet Charles Baudelaire. The overall impression I get is of a subversive artist seeking to display the hypocrisies of his age, a sort of visual interpretation of Baudelaire’s own exclamation “Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!” (Hypocrite reader, my double, by twin!) Perhaps he had a brother after all.