Paul Delvaux was one of the most famous surrealist Belgian painters of the twentieth century (Carels & Deun, 2004). He was born in 1987, in the town of Antheit, within the province of Liege in Belgium. …
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He quickly distinguished himself as an aspiring musician and took his music classes avidly. Like many aspiring artists, Delvaux entry into the world of art was met with determined criticism from his parents, who wished him to pursue a separate career (Carels & Deun, 2004). It was partly due to this parental pressure that the young man occasionally ventured into other subjects but remained a good reader all the while. The books and subjects he read would later influence the kind of art he chose at an early age. Jule Verne’s fictional writings and Homer were his favorite publications at that young age (Carels & Deun, 2004). His parent’s opposition to an artistic career saw him study architecture at an academy in Brussels. At a much older age, he changed his academic course and switched to art under the tutelage of Constant Montald and another artist; Jean Delville (Carels & Deun, 2004). During the inaugural years of his artistic career, the young artist concentrated largely on naturalistic art. His penchant at the time was painting of landscapes as he saw them within his geographical surroundings. Later on, his art would change from pure surrealism to pick up aspects of expressionists after he encountered the influences of Constant Permeke and another artist by the name Gustave De Smet (Carels & Deun, 2004). These two artists introduced him into the art of surrealism. An artistic encounter with the figure of Venus would later offer him a new motif that dominated his art for much of his later artistic career. From these influences, he developed a strong taste of nudist art. The artist is well known for his remarkable capacity for juxtaposition. In his art, the most ordinary of things would be rendered in peculiarly different forms. The capacity to engage the aspects of naturalism, surrealism, metaphysics, and expressionism brought him out as one of the most accomplished artists of his time. His art continue to influence critical reviews and appraisals in Belgium especially, and much of Europe and America generally. One of Delvaux’s most famous paintings is “The Great Sirens.” It is generally considered as the best landmark of his nudist art as compared to others. “The Great Sirens” also shows the most telling effects of the influences Delvaux received from Rene Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico. Magritte infused into the artistic substance of Delvaux the elements of surrealism. This influence elevated the Belgian’s art to some higher representations that captured multiple influences in ways that appeared to operate above the normal expectations. On the other hand, deChirico’s art influenced Delvaux into the representations of metaphysical and proto-surrealistic paintings. The art of incongruous juxtaposition that expresses itself in the art of Delvaux borrows heavily from the art of Magritte. In the “The Great Sirens,” these influences are evident from the dramatic way in which the pictures are rendered and in the juxtaposition that follows. It is appropriate to determine some of the influences that contribute to the artistic shock that presents them in this painting. The women are brought about as erotic, shameless, and threatening to the male ego and power (Delvaux, 1947). They are no longer presented as weak and conquered, as they are ready to use their feminine qualities and physique to conquer the domineering power of the men in the society in which they leave. By presenting these pictures as uniquely feminine, the painter brings out the fact that he is an essential feminist. He goes against the dominant tradition where patriarchal artists seek to use the physical attributes of women to display their power. In a way, therefore “The Great Sirens” might be interpreted as an allegory of feminine redemption,
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