Obelisk Art History

La France Croisee

Romaine Brooks, 1914
La France Croisee, Romaine Brooks
La France Croisee, zoomed in
116.2 cmLa France Croisee scale comparison85.0 cm
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La France Croisee is a Symbolist Oil on Canvas Painting created by Romaine Brooks in 1914. It lives at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the United States. The image is in the Public Domain, and tagged Women. Download

“Have they hoisted the acrid sponge on the tip of the lance; Against her beauteous mouth elated with the sacrament: The cross without Christ, who suffers above her breast; Is nought but the double wound born in silence.” That is the Italian poet Gabriele d'Annunzio’s description of this brooding portrait by Romaine Brooks, a caption displayed alongside the work during its first display in a Paris gallery. The painting transfigures Ida Rubinstein, the Russian ballet dancer and Brooks’ lover at the time, into a personification of France, behind her burns the Belgian city of Ypres, the site of a brutal battle during World War I.

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Romaine Brooks: A Life, Recommended Reading

Cassandra Langer spent decades researching Romaine Brooks, making this biography a fresh, thorough, and provocative look at one of the most important queer artists of the 20th century.

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