Paper - Violetta Jessica Violetta Dr. J. Medina COA 2242...

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Violetta Jessica Violetta Dr. J. Medina COA 2242 April 10, 2008 Commentary on The Funeral of Atala The Funeral of Atala , by Anne-Louis De Roussy Girodet-Trison, was created in 1808, after being commissioned by Louis-François Bertin in celebration of his friend and writer François-René de Chateaubriand. 1 This artwork represents Girodet’s slight transition to an early Romanticism style, after studying under Jacques-Louis David. This painting is able to tell the entire dramatic story of Atala in one scene through the elements of symbolism, composition and space. Based off of Chateaubriand’s work, Atala , or The Loves of Two Savages in the Wilderness , written in 1801, Girodet portrays the tragic scene. This story was apart of a larger work of Chateaubriand’s called The Genius of Christianity . 2 This story centers around two characters, Atala and Chactas. Chactas was Natchez, an Indian people located in present Mississippi and encountered by the French in the late 17 th century. 3 He had been to France and although raised by a Christian named Lopez, was a pagan. After be captured by an enemy tribe, Chactas was rescued by Lopez’s daughter, Atala. Atala had converted to Christianity and fallen in love with Chactas. After rescuing him, Atala and Chactas become caught in a storm and are rescued by Father Aubry. 4 Despite her 1 http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/spring_06/reviews/beau.shtml 2 http://www.louvre.fr/llv/oeuvres/detail_notice.jsp? mLocale=en 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natchez_language 4 http://www.cc.gatech.edu/projects/hmuseum/themes/life/funeral_of_atala.html 1
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Violetta deep love of Chactas, Atala cannot break the vow of chastity she had made to her dying mother. 5 In her fear of breaking this vow, Atala commits suicide by poisoning herself. Girodet’s The Funeral of Atala clearly illustrates the ending of this story. Within the painting are three of the characters found in Chateaubriand’s The Love of Two Savages in the Wilderness , Chactas, Atala and Father Aubry. The scene illustrated by Girodet shows Father Aubry and Chactas burying Atala. Chactas is clearly identified by his desperate hold on Atala. The distinctive monk’s habit helps the viewer distinguish Father Aubry. Girodet’s merges two distinct styles in this piece.
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This note was uploaded on 12/14/2010 for the course COA 2241 taught by Professor Medina during the Spring '08 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Paper - Violetta Jessica Violetta Dr. J. Medina COA 2242...

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