The Sacred Grove, 1884
Dating from Toulouse-Lautrec’s student days, this parody of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes’s The Sacred Grove mimics the style and subject of that allegorical composition celebrating the arts and muses but subverts the serious tone. A clockface appears on the ancient portico, a giant tube of paint is held aloft by one of the arts, and a circular loaf of bread, instead of a laurel crown, is held by the kneeling youth. The men advancing from the right are Louis Anquetin, a fellow student; Édouard Dujardin, Symbolist critic and founder of the Revue Wagnérienne; Maurice Barrès, Symbolist author; and Léon Bonnat, Lautrec’s first teacher. Lautrec himself is seen from behind, urinating on the ground, and a police officer tries to keep the intruders in line.
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