23 April 2015

Jules Verne and Georges Rodenbach: Graves

Once again my thanks to Dr Rowena Edlin-White, this time for sending me a scan of a postcard she discovered in a flea market in Brussels: this shot is of the tomb of Jules Verne (1828–1905) in the Cimetière de La Madeleine in Amiens (80), depicting Verne breaking out of his shroud and looking towards heaven. It very strongly reminded me of the grave of symbolist poet and novelist Georges Rodenbach  (1855–98) in the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Paris:

Surely there has to be a link between the two? Yes, indeed there is. I discovered an essay on the sculptor of Rodenbach's tomb: 'Charlotte Besnard (1854–1931) : être femme sculpteur et épouse d’artiste en vogue, au tournant du XXe siècle' by Hélène Moreau-Sionneau. (Charlotte was the wife of artist Albert Besnard (1849-1934)). Moreau-Sionneau writes that Besnard sculpted the Rodenbach grave, on which was an inscription of a few now completely illegible lines of his poetry addressed to the Lord and praying for an after-life in literature. This tomb inspired Albert Roze (1861–1952) – commissioned by the Verne family – to sculpt the later grave, which is titled Towards Immortality and Everlasting Youth (Vers l’immortalité et l’éternelle jeunesse). Roze, with the aid of Verne's death mask, completed his work in 1907.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

See the site www.bruges-la-morte.net and the included study "Le secret de Bruges-la-Morte", Chapter 24.