Gustave Dore

October 26, 2009 at 10:05 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Like Gautier, Dore (1832-83) was a little before the time of Decadence, and never, to my knowledge, identified with it. But to me, his illustrations sum up the dark sensuality of the movement. Also, he was a total dandy. I mean, look at him:

Gustave Dore, photographed by Felix Nadar

Gustave Dore, photographed by Felix Nadar

I love how his fairy tale illustrations make obvious the underlying sexuality of the stories which had been supressed in the nineteenth-century.

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

He also illustrated an edition of the Bible, and it’s noticable that he chose the more decadent scenes to depict

Death of Jezebel

Death of Jezebel

His illustrations of Poe’s works are sensational

Poe's 'The Raven'

Poe's 'The Raven'

And he definitely brought out the darker side of Shakespeare.

Midsummer Night's Dream

Midsummer Night's Dream



  1. Gabi said,

    That is brilliant! I knew his illustrations of course, but I am terrible with names- thank you for putting it up- I find your blog very interesting so far ! Keep up the good work!

    • Decadent Handbook said,

      Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply! I’m glad you like it – I’m finding it lots of fun. It’s good to keep up with my English Literature roots! xx

  2. 1DeviantAuthor said,

    Dore is one of my favorites. From looking into him further, I discovered the Geefs brothers, who were sculptors. They did some amazing pieces featuring Lucifer.

    Nice blog. =)

    • Decadent Handbook said,

      Thank you! I’ll have to look into the Geefs brothers – I hadn’t heard of them before. Thanks for letting me know!

  3. 1DeviantAuthor said,

    You’re welcome. =)

    Enjoy the Geefs brothers. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I know I was. I think they’re my favorites from that era.

  4. @~ said,

    The first time I ever visited an art gallery as a young child was to see Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion models from mythical movies (very good indeed) however in an adjoining gallery room was an exhibition of Dore’s illustrations to the Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost. Had a profound impact on me, and although I forgot his name, the images stuck in my mind and years later I rediscovered the works and the artist for myself, but then and now, Dore has remained constantly a huge inspiration to me as an artist. I have several collections of his works (and covet more, he was hugely industrious) and every time I look at them still they fill me with the same awe I felt as a child gazing up.
    Dore has sometimes been mentioned in reference to Symbolist art, I think it was perhaps Philippe Jullian who referred to Dore as ‘the last of the Romantics, the first of the Symbolists’.

    • Decadent Handbook said,

      I love Dore. I had a fairy tale book illustrated by him when I was little. Now I want the collection he did for Poe!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: