Currently reading : Sade: Attacking The Sun

Sade: Attacking The Sun

16 October 2014

Author : ellen-turner


The Musée d’Orsay is currently hosting an exhibition titled Sade: Attacking the Sun that explores the French writer, the Marquis de Sade’s provocative transformation of literature and the arts.

The Marquis de Sade is the famed controversial writer of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries known for his explicitly erotic works, often violent, criminal and blasphemous against the Catholic Church. He’s the author of novels such as ‘Justine, or The Misadventures of Fortune‘ and ‘The 120 Days of Sodom‘, which he wrote whilst imprisoned in the Bastille for sodomy and poisoning prostitutes.

De Sade was a libertine, unrestrained and devoid of moral, religious or lawful discipline. The exhibition addresses de Sade and his radical questioning of limits, proportion, excess, notions of beauty, ugliness, the sublime and the body through themes of his ferocious and singular desire, his principle of excess and elements of the bestial.


Sade: Attacking the Sun’s focus is on the revolution of representation that his work unearthed; how it dissolved premeditated religious, ideological, social and moral notions. On display are numerous examples of work that have evidently been influenced by Sade’s philosophies, from artists such as Rodin, Gericaurt, Ingres and Rops.

Works on show that marry art and de Sade’s sadistic, violent and sexual fantasies are Cezanne’s ‘Portrait of a Strangled Woman‘ (1872), Picasso’s ‘The Rape of the Sabines‘ (1962), Goya’s ‘Cannibals Preparing Their Victims‘ (1800-08) and Rops’ ‘Violence ou Satyres’.


The exhibition presents de Sade as a veritable legend whose work, despite its blatant ignorance of contemporary (then, and now) notions of morality, influences art with its violently erotic philosophy.


Sade: Attacking the Sun is on show now until the 25th January 2015 at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

More information can be found on their website, here




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